PM Hariri says Iran should not interfere in Lebanon’s affairs

File photo showing Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri sits with Prime Minister-designate Saad Al-Hariri inside the parliament building in Beirut, Lebanon, May 28, 2018. (Reuters)
Updated 12 June 2018
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PM Hariri says Iran should not interfere in Lebanon’s affairs

BEIRUT: Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri has criticized a top Iranian general for comments he reportedly made recently in which he praised Iran-backed groups for making gains in last month’s parliamentary elections.
The Iran-backed Hezbollah and its allies gained more than half the seats of the 128-member parliament in the May 6 parliamentary elections.
Lebanese media aired a video posted on social media showing Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, saying that Hezbollah’s victory came at a time when some Arab countries labeled it and its leaders as terrorists.
Hariri told reporters later Monday that the comments are “regrettable,” adding that interfering in Lebanon’s internal affairs is “not in their (Iran’s) interest, nor those of Lebanon or the region.”


UN calls on Libya to crack down on violent militias

Khalifa Haftar. (Supplied)
Updated 21 August 2018
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UN calls on Libya to crack down on violent militias

  • Libya remains divided between the UN-backed GNA in Tripoli and a rival administration in the east supported by military strongman Khalifa Haftar
  • Tripoli office to a more “secure” location after threats from militiamen against its employees

TRIPOLI: The UN has called on Libya’s internationally recognized government to crack down on armed groups obstructing the work of state institutions in the chaos-wracked country.
The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) late on Sunday night expressed its “strong condemnation of the violence, intimidation and obstruction to the work of Libya’s sovereign institutions by militiamen.”
It called on the UN-backed Government of National Accord to “prosecute those responsible for these criminal actions.”
The GNA’s military and security institutions have failed to place limits on the powerful militias that sprung up in the turmoil that followed the 2011 ouster of dictator Muammar Qaddafi.
Several state institutions, including those in Tripoli, have been regular targets of harassment and intimidation by armed groups technically operating under the GNA’s Interior Ministry.
Members of militias “nominally acting under the Ministry of Interior of the Government of National Accord are attacking sovereign institutions and preventing them from being able to operate effectively,” UNSMIL said.
Last week, the GNA’s National Oil Corp. said men from the Interior Ministry had forced their way into the headquarters of Brega Petroleum Marketing Company — a distribution outfit — to “arrest” its chief.
The Libyan Investment Authority, the GNA-managed sovereign wealth fund, recently moved from its downtown Tripoli office to a more “secure” location after threats from militiamen against its employees.
UNSMIL said it would work with the international community and the GNA to “investigate the possibility of bringing sanctions against those interfering with or threatening the operations of any sovereign institution.”
Libya remains divided between the UN-backed GNA in Tripoli and a rival administration in the east supported by military strongman Khalifa Haftar.
A myriad of militias,terrorist groups and people traffickers have taken advantage of the chaos to gain a foothold in the North African country.