Egypt announces new Libya plan after collapse of Haftar offensive

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi meets Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar (R) and the Libyan Parliament speaker Aguila Saleh in the capital Cairo. (AFP)
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Updated 06 June 2020

Egypt announces new Libya plan after collapse of Haftar offensive

  • El-Sisi said the plan included a call for the exit of all foreign fighters from Libya
  • He proposed an elected leadership council and a cease-fire starting on June 8

CAIRO: Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi announced a new initiative for Libya on Saturday, flanked by the war-torn nation’s eastern commander Khalifa Haftar, proposing an elected leadership council and a cease-fire starting on June 8.

"This initiative calls for respecting all international efforts and initiatives by declaring a ceasefire from 0600 (0400 GMT) Monday June 8, 2020," President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi told a news conference.
El-Sisi, who was also accompanied in Cairo by eastern Libyan parliament head Aguila Saleh, said the plan included a call for negotiations in Geneva and for the exit of all "foreign mercenaries from” Libya.

He urged international support for the initiative, named the "Cairo declaration", and called on the United Nations to invite Libya's rival administrations in the east and the west for talks.
Libya has had no stable central authority since dictator Muammar Qaddafi was overthrown by NATO-backed rebels in 2011. For more than five years it has had rival parliaments and governments in the east and the west, with streets often controlled by armed groups.
El-Sisi’s announcement comes after the abrupt collapse of a 14-month offensive by Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) to try to take control of the capital, Tripoli.
The retreat, reversing many of Haftar’s gains from last year when he raced toward Tripoli, extends the control of the rival Government of National Accord (GNA) across most of northwest Libya. Haftar and allied groups still control the east and much of the south, as well as most of Libya’s oilfields, however.
Multiple previous attempts to establish truces and a return to negotiations have foundered, though the United Nations has started holding separate talks with both sides for a cease-fire deal in recent days.


Libyan migrant centers are like concentration camps, pope says

Updated 11 min 26 sec ago

Libyan migrant centers are like concentration camps, pope says

  • The pope has in the past called for the camps to be closed
  • Thousands of refugees and migrants are held in about 20 official detention facilities in Libya

VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis on Wednesday compared migrant detention centers in Libya to concentration camps, saying the world was being given only a diluted version of how hellish life really was for the people living there.
The pope, who has in the past called for the camps to be closed, made his comments in his homily during a Mass to mark the seventh anniversary of his trip to the Italian island of Lampedusa, landing place for many migrants making the perilous crossing from north Africa.
Departing from his prepared address, he recalled how an interpreter translating his conversation with a migrant seven years ago, gave him only a “distilled” version of what the migrant was actually saying.
“This is what is happening today in Libya. They give us the distilled version,” said Francis, who has made defense of migrants a major part of his seven-year-old papacy.
“Yes, there is a war (in Libya) and we know that is ugly but you cannot imagine the hell that people live there in those lagers of detention,” he said.
Lager is an abbreviation of the German word ‘Konzentrationslager’, or concentration camp.
“All these people had was hope as they were crossing the sea,” Francis said.
Thousands of refugees and migrants are held in about 20 official detention facilities in Libya, some controlled by armed groups, as well as an unknown number in squalid centers run by traffickers, according to the United Nations.
Human rights groups say abuses, including beating and forced labor, are rife in the detention centers.
Detainees in the Libyan camps include those who left on boats for Europe and were brought back by the European Union- backed Libyan Coast Guard, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, UNHCR, says.