Libya authorities close Tripoli’s only airport over safety

Travellers arrive at the Mitiga International Airport after its reopening on September 7, 2018, in the Libyan capital of Tripoli. / AFP / Mahmud TURKIA
Updated 17 September 2018
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Libya authorities close Tripoli’s only airport over safety

  • Transport Minister Hisham Boushkiwat called the closing of Mitiga airport “unfortunate”
  • The UN-backed Tripoli government handed control of the facility from one militia to another, prompting the Transport Ministry to order its closure on security concerns

BENGHAZI: Libyan authorities have closed the capitol Tripoli’s only functioning airport, diverting traffic to another one at the nearby militia-controlled city of Misrata.
The Monday move came after the UN-backed Tripoli government handed control of the facility from one militia to another, prompting the Transport Ministry to order its closure on security concerns.
Deputy Transport Minister Hisham Boushkiwat called the closing of Mitiga airport “unfortunate” but said that in the past “some things inside the airport have threatened traveler safety.”
He underlined ongoing nearby militia conflict in the capital as another reason behind the closure, but added that he hoped the airport would be reopened soon.
The airport has been closed in the past, including last week when it was attacked by missiles of an unknown provenance.


UN draft resolution calls for Yemen truce, two weeks to unblock Hodeidah port for aid shipments

Updated 35 min 56 sec ago
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UN draft resolution calls for Yemen truce, two weeks to unblock Hodeidah port for aid shipments

UN, NEW YORK: A UN draft resolution on Yemen presented to the Security Council on Monday calls for an immediate truce in the port city of Hodeidah and sets a two-week deadline for removing all barriers to humanitarian aid, according to the draft seen by AFP.
Britain circulated the draft to the 14 other council members after hearing a report on Friday from a UN envoy working to arrange peace talks in Sweden to end the nearly four-year war.
A vote on the measure has yet to be scheduled.
The proposed resolution would significantly ratchet up the pressure to find a negotiated settlement in Yemen, where millions are on the brink of starvation.
The UN considers Yemen the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis and has warned that without a stop to the fighting, the country will face one of the worst famines in decades.
The draft text calls “on the parties to introduce a cessation of hostilities in Hodeidah governorate, to end all attacks on densely populated civilian areas across Yemen and to cease all missile and UAV attacks against regional countries and maritime areas.”
The Red Sea port of Hodeidah, which is controlled by the Iranian-backed Houthi militia and is a key point of entry for aid and imports to Yemen, has seen heavy fighting over the past weeks.
The text calls on warring sides to “facilitate the unhindered flow of commercial and humanitarian food, water, fuel, medicine and other essential imports across the country, including by removing within two weeks of the adoption of this resolution, any bureaucratic impediments that could restrict such flows.”
The truce would go into effect on the day of the adoption of the resolution.
Under the proposed measures, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres would report to the council within two weeks on the cessation of hostilities.
The council said it was ready to “consider further measures” to support a political solution the war, the draft said.
The measure calls for a large injection of foreign currency into the economy through the central back to support the collapsing currency and for salaries of civil servants, teachers and health workers to be paid within one month.
It supports a series of confidence-building measures aimed at paving the way to peace talks including the release of prisoners, the re-opening of the airport in the rebel-held capital Sanaa to commercial flights and strengthening the central bank.
Both sides are urged to engage with UN envoy Martin Griffiths, who is due to travel to Sanaa this week to finalize arrangements for the peace talks that he hopes to convene soon.
Yemen’s internationally recognized government said Monday it will take part in the talks, hours after the Houthi leader, Mohammed Ali Al-Houthi, said he was ready to freeze military operations.
The Saudi Arabian-led coalition has been fighting the Houthis in order to restore to power Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, whose government is recognized by the UN.
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt arrived Monday in Iran for the first time to discuss Tehran’s role in Yemen, meeting with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif.