Italy urges EU to ready plan for Libya refugee flight, work on joint initiative

Italian Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero Milanesi, right, shakes hands with the UN special envoy for Libya, Ghassan Salame, as they meet at the Foreign Ministry in Rome. (Angelo Carconi/ANSA via AP)
Updated 24 April 2019
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Italy urges EU to ready plan for Libya refugee flight, work on joint initiative

  • Moavero was speaking at joint news conference in Rome with Ghassan Salame
  • Moavero says situation in Libya required a lot of “time and support”

ROME: Italy’s government has written to the European Union asking it to ready a plan of action to deal with a possible flight of refugees from the armed conflict in Libya, Italian Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero said on Wednesday.

Moavero was speaking at a joint news conference in Rome after talks with the UN envoy on Libya, Ghassan Salame.

He also said that the European Union was working on developing a Europe-wide initiative for the country, as the bloc fears the emergence of fresh terrorist activities.

Moavero said the situation in Libya required a lot of “time and support.”

Salame said that contacts had been established and he hoped to see results before the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan begins in early May.

"I hope that the contacts we have established or re-established among the two belligerents can bear fruit before the holy month of Ramadan," Salame told a news conference.

Salame, visiting Rome to enlist support from Libya's former colonial power for a possible ceasefire, did not elaborate on the nature of the contacts with the two warring groups.

Italy, whose southern islands lie very close to the North African country's coast, fears a mass exodus of refugees from Libya which is already a jumping-off point for boatloads of African migrants seeking to a new life in Europe.

Libya has been in a state of chaos since dictator Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in 2011 with Western intervention and the latest flare-up threatens to disrupt oil flows and leave a power vacuum that militants could exploit. 


Iran commemorates war with parade of tanks, missiles

Updated 23 September 2019

Iran commemorates war with parade of tanks, missiles

  • Saudi Arabia and the US have accused Iran of a Sept. 14 drone and missile attack on oil facilities

JEDDAH: As Saudi Arabia prepared to celebrate its National Day with entertainment events, firework displays and cultural events, Iran staged a military parade in Tehran on Sunday with tanks, missiles and armored vehicles.

President Hassan Rouhani and Iranian military leaders saluted as ranks of soldiers marched past them in tight unison, followed by an array of military hardware.

Among the weapons on display in the parade, held to mark the anniversary of the start of the Iran-Iraq war in 1980, was an upgraded warhead for the Khorramshahr ballistic missile, said to have a range of 2,000km, and the Kaman 12 drone with a range of 1,000km. Speedboats and warships were shown in video footage on state TV.

Saudi Arabia and the US have accused Iran of a Sept. 14 drone and missile attack on oil facilities in the east of the Kingdom. After the attack the Pentagon ordered US troops to reinforce Saudi air and missile defenses.

In a speech at Monday’s parade, Rouhani denounced the US presence. “Foreign forces can cause problems and insecurity for our people and for our region,” he said.

“If they’re sincere, then they should not make our region the site of an arms race.

“Their presence has always brought pain and misery ... the farther they keep themselves from our region and our nations, the more security there will be.”

The US aims to avoid war with Iran and the additional troops are for “deterrence and defense,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday.

“If that deterrence should continue to fail, I am also confident that President Trump would continue to take the actions that are necessary,” he said.