Merkel to push for single EU stance on Libya crisis

German Chancellor Angela Merkel signs a document during a meeting with students at the University of Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso on May 2, 2019, on the second day of her tour of the Sahel region. (AFP)
Updated 02 May 2019

Merkel to push for single EU stance on Libya crisis

OUAGADOUGOU: Europe must adopt a common position to resolve the Libyan crisis, which has boosted unrest in the Sahel, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday in Burkina Faso, a country hard-hit by jihadist violence.
Her visit coincided with a summit of the leaders of Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger -- the "G5 Sahel" group set up to manage a coordinated response to jihadist attacks.
"We must now work on a political solution for Libya... which will be important for the future of your region," Merkel told students at the University of Ouagadougou.
"What the presidents of the G5 Sahel explained to me once again yesterday, and they are right to say so, is that Europe must agree on the approach as there are still diverging perspectives within the European Union," said Merkel.
"I will do my best to ensure that the Italian position and the French position are consistent and that there are no different voices or positions in Europe."
The two neighbours have differences over how to respond to the Libya crisis. There is also anger in Rome at France's perceived lack of support for the influx of African migrants arriving from Italy's former colony.
Last month, Libya's UN-backed Government of National Accord appealed for Europe's support against military strongman Khalifa Haftar, waging an offensive on Tripoli.
Libya has been in turmoil since NATO-backed forces overthrew former dictator Muammar Qaddafi in 2011.
"As Europeans, we will not find a solution for Libya by ourselves, we will need the expertise of the African Union," Merkel told the students in a near-two-hour exchange.
The chancellor expressed concern over the security situation in Burkina Faso, and said "we try to build links, to assist Burkina Faso in the fight against terrorism, so that you can have opportunities in your own country, so that you can live in security, well-being, and better prosperity."
Merkel was due in Mali later Thursday, to meet hundreds of German soldiers deployed there as part of UN force MINUSMA, then to Libyan neighbour Niger.

Three Palestinians killed by Israeli soldiers at Gaza border: ministry

Updated 54 min 18 sec ago

Three Palestinians killed by Israeli soldiers at Gaza border: ministry

  • Attack helicopter and tank had fired at ‘armed suspects’ along the barrier that separates Israel from the Gaza Strip

GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories: Three Palestinians were killed by Israeli soldiers in the northern Gaza Strip, the Palestinian health ministry said Sunday, hours after three rockets were fired at Israel from the blockaded enclave.

The ministry said another Palestinian was hospitalized in the shooting that came after the Israeli army said an attack helicopter and tank had fired at “armed suspects” along the barrier that separates Israel from Gaza.

“We just identified a number of armed suspects from Gaza approaching the security fence with Israel. We fired toward them,” the army said a statement posted on its Twitter account.

The latest violence came after Palestinians in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip fired three rockets at southern Israel late Saturday, the Israeli army said, in the second such attack in 24 hours.

There were no immediate reports of casualties.

The army said two of the projectiles had been intercepted by its Iron Dome aerial defense system but it did not specify what happened to the third rocket.

Air raid sirens had sounded in the southern town of Sderot and its surroundings.

On Friday Palestinians in Gaza fired a rocket at Sderot, in what the army said was the first such attack since July 12.

In response, Israeli warplanes struck at least three targets in the Gaza Strip early on Saturday but caused no casualties, a Palestinian security source said.

The strikes hit a Hamas observation post in Beit Hanoun, in the northern Gaza Strip, an unidentified target near Gaza City and open ground near Deir El Balah in the central part of the territory, the source said.

An Israeli army statement mentioned only two strikes, against “underground targets belonging to the Hamas terror organization in the northern and central Gaza Strip.”

Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza, ruled by Islamist movement Hamas, have fought three wars since 2008.

And since March 2018, regular protests and clashes have erupted along the border of the blockaded coastal enclave.

At least 305 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in Gaza or the border area since then, the majority during demonstrations and clashes.

Seven Israelis have also been killed in Gaza-related violence over the same period.