Libyan forces suffer casualties as fighting drags on in Benghazi

Libyan forces suffer casualties as fighting drags on in Benghazi
Members of Libyan pro-government forces ride an army vehicle in Benghazi. (File photo/Reuters)
Updated 12 December 2017

Libyan forces suffer casualties as fighting drags on in Benghazi

Libyan forces suffer casualties as fighting drags on in Benghazi

BENGHAZI: Libyan forces fighting in Benghazi have lost four men and seen 10 wounded so far in December, five months after declaring victory in a campaign to control the eastern city, a medical source said on Monday.
Three of the dead from the Libyan National Army (LNA) were killed by snipers and one by a land mine as it faces resistance from a group of fighters in the Benghazi district of Khreibish.
There have been daily clashes in the area and occasional air strikes.
LNA commander Khalifa Haftar declared victory in a three-year military campaign against an array of extremists and other fighters in Benghazi in early July.
The fighting is part of a broader conflict that developed following the 2011 fall of strongman Muammar Qaddafi. Haftar has opposed a UN-backed government based in the capital, Tripoli, as he has gradually strengthened his position on the ground.
Also on Monday, he UN urgently appealed for countries to take in 1,300 “extremely vulnerable” refugees stranded in Libya, following revelations of horrific abuse of migrants in the country.
The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said there was a dire need for 1,300 resettlement places by the end of March 2018.
“This is a desperate call for solidarity and humanity,” Volker Turk, UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, said in a statement.
“We need to get extremely vulnerable refugees out of Libya as soon as possible,” he said. The chaos-ridden country has long been a major transit hub for migrants trying to reach Europe. Many refugees and migrants have fallen prey to serious abuse there at the hands of human traffickers and others.
European and African leaders have already vowed to evacuate nearly 4,000 distressed migrants from Libya after global outrage erupted last month over video footage showing African migrants being auctioned off as slaves in the country.
“Many refugees, asylum seekers and stateless persons in Libya are victims of serious violations of human rights, including different forms of inhumane, cruel and degrading treatment,” the UNHCR warned in Monday’s appeal.
It stressed that many of them had been detained for an indefinite period of time in deplorable conditions, denouncing the “routine detention of refugees and displaced people.”
The UN refugee agency in early November evacuated a first group of 25 vulnerable refugees — 15 women, six men and four children of Eritrean, Ethiopian and Sudanese nationalities — to Niger.
“Given the imminent humanitarian needs and the rapidly deteriorating conditions in detention centers in Libya, UNHCR is actively working to organize more life-saving refugee evacuations to Niger in the coming weeks and months,” Turk said.
UNHCR said the vulnerable refugees included unaccompanied children, single mothers, people with serious medical conditions and people who had been severely tortured during their journey or in detention in Libya.
The agency said it aimed to evacuate them to Niger and hopefully other emergency transit centers pending their final resettlement to other countries.
“Given the seriousness of the situation for refugees in Libya, we need to explore all sorts of solutions, including resettlement, family reunification, evacuation to UNHCR-run emergency facilities in other countries, or voluntary return,” Turk said.


UAE, Cyprus FMs discuss Mediterranean tensions and strategic partnerships

UAE, Cyprus FMs discuss Mediterranean tensions and strategic partnerships
Updated 19 January 2021

UAE, Cyprus FMs discuss Mediterranean tensions and strategic partnerships

UAE, Cyprus FMs discuss Mediterranean tensions and strategic partnerships
  • The two ministers also discussed the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Both sides discussed ways of strengthening ties in multiple sectors, including in parliamentary areasboth sides discussed ways of strengthening ties in multiple sectors, including in parliamentary areas

DUBAI: The UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs discussed the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean and ways of ensuring security and stability in the region with his Cypriot counterpart on Monday,.
Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan reviewed the prospects of advancing relations with Cyprus in a meeting in Abu Dhabi with Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides, UAE state news agency WAM reported.
The two ministers also discussed the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and the importance of enhancing international cooperation to ensure fair and equitable access to the vaccine for every country in the world.
Christodoulides praised the UAE’s significant overall efforts to counter the coronavirus pandemic and the efficiency of its adopted measures in mitigating the economic and social effects of the crisis.
During his visit to the UAE, the Cypriot minister also met with the Speaker of the Federal National Council (FNC), Saqr Ghobash, accompanied with the Ambassador of Cyprus to the UAE, Yannis Michaelides.
During the meeting, both sides discussed ways of strengthening ties in multiple sectors, including in parliamentary areas.
Ghobash said that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on their parliamentary cooperation is required, in addition to reinforcing the role of joint parliamentary friendship committees.
A parliamentary friendship committee between the two countries will hold a meeting in the first quarter of 2021, Ghobash said, and stressed the importance of improving their coordination during global parliamentary events.
Christodoulides said that the UAE was a leading regional and international stature, noting that it is a strategic partner of his country.
He also conveyed the invitation of the President of the House of Representatives of Cyprus to Ghobash to visit Cyprus as head of a parliamentary delegation, to discuss ways of reinforcing their parliamentary ties.