US’ Pompeo, Egypt FM urge calm in Libya amid Tripoli offensive

This image grab taken from a video published on the Facebook page of the War Information Division of Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army on May 26, 2019 shows fighters loyal to Haftar reportedly advancing on a road south of the capital Tripoli. (AFP/ LNA War Information Division)
Updated 28 May 2019

US’ Pompeo, Egypt FM urge calm in Libya amid Tripoli offensive

  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addressed the crisis in Libya during a phone call with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry
  • Khalifa Haftar on a visit last week to France rejected a cease-fire urged by President Emmanuel Macron

WASHINGTON: The United States and Egypt, a key backer of Libyan militia leader Khalifa Haftar, on Tuesday called for calm as the strongman pressed ahead in his offensive on Tripoli.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addressed the crisis in Libya during a phone call with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, the State Department said.
The two discussed “the urgent need to achieve a political solution in Libya and prevent further escalation,” State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said.
Haftar is pressing ahead against the internationally backed government in Tripoli in fighting that has left 510 dead and driven more than 75,000 people from their homes, according to World Health Organization figures.
Haftar on a visit last week to France rejected a cease-fire urged by President Emmanuel Macron.
In an interview with the Journal de Dimanche newspaper, Haftar said he would continue the operation until “private militias and extremist groups,” who he alleged were gaining influence under Prime Minister Fayez Al-Sarraj laid down their weapons.


Libyan navy says more than 300 migrants rescued

Updated 18 August 2019

Libyan navy says more than 300 migrants rescued

  • 128 Sudanese were in the boats, in addition to migrants from Chad, Egypt, Niger, Benin and Eritrea
  • It came days after Libyan navy patrols “rescued 278 migrants on board four inflatable boats

TRIPOLI: The Libyan navy said Sunday 335 migrants had been rescued and one body recovered in separate operations off the coast, as they tried to cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe.
Nine children were among 57 migrants in a wooden boat rescued Saturday about 40 nautical miles from the town of Zuwara, west of Tripoli, navy spokesman General Ayoub Kacem told AFP.
He said they were from Ethiopia and Egypt.
It came days after Libyan navy patrols on Tuesday “rescued 278 migrants on board four inflatable boats northwest and northeast of Tripoli,” Kacem added.
The operations took place off the coasts of the cities of Khoms, 120 kilometers (75 miles) east of Tripoli, and Sabratha, located 70 kilometers west of the capital.
According to the statement, 128 Sudanese were in the boats, in addition to migrants from Chad, Egypt, Niger, Benin and Eritrea, including 35 women and 11 children.
One body was also recovered by the coast guard.
Libya, which has been wracked by chaos since the 2011 uprising that killed dictator Muammar Qaddafi, has long been a major transit route for migrants, especially from sub-Saharan Africa.
In general, migrants rescued at sea are first met by humanitarian agencies that provide medical care and food.
They are then taken into the charge of the body working to combat immigration at the interior ministry of the UN-recognized Government of National Accord.
On August 9, the Libyan navy accused the authorities of failing to manage migrants rescued at sea, claiming that it could be forced to let people go free once brought back to land.
Despite the risks, migrants continue to attempt to reach Europe by sea, preferring to take their chances than stay in Libya, where they are subject to abuse, extortion and torture, according to humanitarian organizations.