France, Britain, Egypt, UAE, United States, Italy call for immediate end of hostilities in Libya

A migrant picks up clothes from among rubble at a detention centre for mainly African migrants that was hit by an airstrike in the Tajoura suburb of the Libyan capital of Tripoli. (Reuters)
Updated 17 July 2019

France, Britain, Egypt, UAE, United States, Italy call for immediate end of hostilities in Libya

  • The six countries reiterated in a rare joint statement their deep concern
  • Nearly 1,100 people have been killed in the fighting

LONDON: France, UK, Egypt, the UAE, US and Italy on Tuesday called for an immediate end of hostilities around Tripoli and warned of attempts by "terrorist groups" to take advantage of the political void in Libya.

The six countries reiterated in a rare joint statement their deep concern over the ongoing hostilities in Tripoli and called for an immediate de-escalation, end of the current fighting, and urged a rapid return to the political process under the auspices of the UN. 

They warned that the fighting "has fueled a growing humanitarian emergency," aggravating a crisis with migrants, and voiced fear that extremists would thrive in the security vacuum.

The countries "call on all parties to the Tripoli conflict to dissociate themselves from all such terrorists and individuals designated by the UN Sanctions Committee, and renew our commitment to see those responsible for further instability held accountable," they said.

Nearly 1,100 people have been killed in the fighting.

While backing the government, Western powers earlier this year sent mixed signals, with US President Donald Trump praising Khalifa Haftar in a phone call and France and Italy welcoming him on visits.


Reza Pahlavi, son of Iran’s last shah, says regime is cracking from within

Updated 52 min 14 sec ago

Reza Pahlavi, son of Iran’s last shah, says regime is cracking from within

  • ahlavi strongly backed the US drone strike that killed the powerful Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani
  • "How long can it possibly be sustained?”

LONDON: The former crown prince of Iran says the regime is cracking from within under the pressure of a wave of fresh protests.

Reza Pahlavi, the son of the last shah, was just 17 when he fled into exile with his family during the 1979 Islamic revolution that overthrew the monarchy.

Speaking to The Sunday Times, he said the demonstrations, which have included chants for the royal family to return, show that the current regime may be coming to an end.

“The cracking from within of the system is getting more and more obvious,” he said. “When you look at the circumstances in Iran today, put yourselves in the shoes of the worst-off — how long can it possibly be sustained?”

The protests intensified in November after an increase in fuel prices. Vast crowds demonstrated in cities across the country before the regime cut the internet and killed hundreds of people in a brutal crackdown.

Large numbers returned to the streets this month, angered by the shooting down of a Ukrainian passenger jet by the Iranian military, and Tehran’s initial insistence that it was an accident.

“The protests are very pervasive, in many sectors of society,” Pahlavi, 59, said in Washington where he lives. “They are all over the country. And a new development we haven’t seen before: the so-called silent middle class, which until now were not taking positions, are beginning to speak out.

“I’m not saying this is a guaranteed collapse. But the ingredients that get us closer to that point seem to be more prevailing these days than ever before.”

Pahlavi said he no longer has any desire to return to the throne, despite once being a rallying point for opposition groups after his father died in 1980.

However, he said he believed there could be a new Iran after the fall of the clerical regime and that his role could be as a go-between for the Iranian diaspora, foreign governments and opposition groups inside Iran.

“To the extent that there is a name recognition, I can utilise that,” he said. “I have no ambition of any kind of role or function or title. I’d like to be an advocate for the people. I don’t let any of this go to my head, I’ve been around too long for that.”

Pahlavi strongly backed the US drone strike that killed the powerful Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani “as a breakthrough that is positive for the region.”

He also backs the punishing US sanctions introduced when Washington withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal.

He said he hopes one day to be able to return to his homeland.

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