New deal struck for displaced Libyans to return home

Young Libyans gather outside a makeshift house on January 4, 2015 in the capital Tripoli, at a refugee camp that hosts internally displaced people from the town of Tawargha, south of Mistrata. (AFP)
Updated 05 June 2018
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New deal struck for displaced Libyans to return home

  • The 35,000 residents of Tawergha, a town which sided with Kadhafi right up to his fall, were evicted after his overthrow
  • Living in wretched conditions, they have been the frequent target of attacks by militiamen

TRIPOLI: A new accord has been struck for thousands of displaced Libyans to return home to a town that sided with former leader Muamar Qaddafi in the 2011 revolution, the country's unity government said Monday.
Fayez Al-Sarraj, head of the Government of National Accord, welcomed the reconciliation deal signed late Sunday by representatives of the pro-Kadhafi town of Tawergha and nearby Misrata, 240 kilometers southeast of the Libyan capital Tripoli.
"The return of the inhabitants of Tawergha to their town will mark the start of the return of all Libya's displaced and exiles inside and outside the country," Sarraj said on the GNA's Facebook page.
The 35,000 residents of Tawergha, a town which sided with Kadhafi right up to his fall, were evicted after his overthrow and have since been kept in camps on the outskirts of Tripoli or scattered across Libya.
Living in wretched conditions, they have been the frequent target of attacks by militiamen, especially from Misrata —  a city that lost hundreds of lives in the revolt against Kadhafi.
A date has yet to be announced for the return of residents to Tawergha.
An earlier accord with a return date of Feb. 1 saw hundreds of families in cars turned back at roadblocks manned by militiamen from Misrata who control the town. Since then, the displaced have camped in the desert sleeping in tents donated by UN agencies or shelters provided by nearby towns.


Leaders of Japan, France share Middle East concerns

Updated 20 sec ago
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Leaders of Japan, France share Middle East concerns

TOKYO: French President Emmanuel Macron said Wednesday he and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have agreed to bolster naval defense ties in the Indo-Pacific region and shared concerns about growing tensions in the Middle East.
Macron, in Tokyo ahead of this week’s Group of 20 summit in Osaka, told a joint news conference that he also hoped tensions over the US-China trade dispute will ease during the summit.
The two leaders discussed nuclear programs in North Korea and Iran and issues to be raised at the G-20 summit.
Macron said he and Abe agreed on the need to ensure the verifiable, irreversible denuclearization of both Iran and North Korea.
“On both these topics we have a common point of view and a real will, in the two cases, to reach collective security by the non-acquisition of nuclear weapons or the total, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization,” Macron said. “And we have the will to ensure the stability of these regions.”
Abe said protecting the safety of the Strait of Hormuz is also crucial. During his recent visit to Tehran in hopes of de-escalating tensions between Iran and the US, a Japanese oil tanker was attacked, though all 21 crewmembers were safe.
“Securing safety of navigation at the Strait of Hormuz, which connects Europe and Asia, is extremely important for the peace and stability of international society including Japan and France,” Abe said. He said he and Macron shared concerns about the rising tension in the Middle East, and reaffirmed their cooperation in efforts to stabilize the situation.
Asked about former Nissan and Renault chairman Carlos Ghosn, charged with financial misconduct, Macron said he is “attached to the principle of the presumption of innocence and to the rights of the defense.” He also said France is responsible for protecting an important company and its employees from a negative impact, and to reaffirm the “solidity” of Renault and that of the Renault-Nissan alliance.
Macron said heightened tensions caused by the trade dispute between the US and China are also a global concern.
“We are at a time of very high tensions between the United States and China, so I wish we have, during the G-20, talks that will enable the appeasement of these tensions,” Macron said.
“For me, the solution to the problems we encounter is not in bilateral agreements, is not in bypassing international rules, is not in protectionism, but it is very clearly in the modernization of the trade multilateral framework,” Macron said.
Talks planned for Saturday between US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G-20 summit are getting extensive attention.
Abe, at another news conference, said he hopes the two leaders will have a constructive dialogue.
Japan and France also unveiled a five-year roadmap of cooperation focusing on maritime security, especially in the Indo-Pacific where China has been growing increasingly assertive. They also agreed to promote cooperation in defense technology, space, and science and technology.