Arab countries show support to Egypt’s ‘Cairo Declaration’ over Libya

A handout picture released by the Egyptian Presidency on June 6, 2020 shows Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (C), Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar (R) and the Libyan Parliament speaker Aguila Saleh (L) taking part in a joint press conference in the capital Cairo. (File/AFP)
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Updated 07 June 2020

Arab countries show support to Egypt’s ‘Cairo Declaration’ over Libya

  • Arab countries urged the Libyan authorities to immediately respond to Egypt’s initiative
  • Turkey rejected Egypt’s allegations against Ankara on the Libyan crisis

DUBAI: A number of Arab nations have voiced their support for Egypt’s Cairo Declaration – that proposes the implementation of a ceasefire in Libya starting June 8, and a return to the political process.
The initiative also suggests holding UN-supervised presidential council elections, drafting a constitutional declaration to regulate elections for a later stage, and ending all foreign interference in Libya’s internal affairs.
Saudi Arabia urged both eastern commander Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) and the rival Government of National Accord (GNA) to implement a cease-fire immediately.
The Kingdom also called on both to start negotiating under the auspices of the UN in order to establish safety and security in Libya and protect it from foreign interference.
The UAE also voiced its support for an end to the ongoing disputes in Libya, in line with the outcome of the Berlin Conference under the UN’s guidance, state news agency WAM reported citing the foreign ministry.
The Ministry also urged the Libyan authorities to immediately respond to Egypt’s initiative to help end the conflict that threatens Libya’s sovereignty and integrity.
Meanwhile, Bahrain said it also welcomed Egypt’s Cairo Declaration and that it supported all efforts exerted by Egypt to help “maintain Arab national security and defend Arab interests and issues,” state news agency BNA reported.
All Libyan parties should respond quickly to the proposed agreement and to give priority to the national interest to help bring security to the nation, Bahrain’s foreign ministry said.
In Kuwait, the government called on all Libyan parties to bring an end to the conflict in the country after welcoming Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi’s initiative, state news agency KUNA reported.
Meanwhile Jordan also welcomed the Cairo Declaration initiative, saying the Kingdom welcomed Egypt’s creation of the declaration, describing it as a “significant achievement,” state news agency Petra reported citing the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Ayman Safadi.
Safadi also said the declaration was in line with other international initiatives, "which should also be supported to reach a political solution to the Libyan crisis that protects the country's unity and stability through Libyan dialogue."
Turkey, meanwhile, rejected Egypt’s allegations against Ankara on the Libyan crisis, local daily Hurriyet Daily News reported citing the country’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson.
"We reject the unfounded accusations of Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry against Turkey within the context of Libya in the meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIL Small Group on June 4, 2020.
"In fact, Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Ambassador Sedat Önal gave the necessary response to the Egyptian foreign minister during the meeting," Hami Aksoy said.
He added that Khalifa Haftar and the Egyptian administration are the actual obstacles to Libya’s peace, with them trying to an authoritarian regime.
"Egypt’s years-long military support to putschist Haftar constitutes a clear violation of the relevant UN Security Council resolutions," Aksoy added.


Lebanon’s Tripoli port readies to fill in for blast-hit Beirut

Updated 2 min 35 sec ago

Lebanon’s Tripoli port readies to fill in for blast-hit Beirut

  • The vast majority of Lebanon’s food and other imports used to transit through Beirut port
  • Lebanon relies on imports for 85 percent of its food needs

TRIPOLI: Lebanon’s northern port city of Tripoli is readying its harbor to temporarily replace that of Beirut, which was levelled in last week’s massive explosion, officials said Thursday.
Tripoli port’s capacity is smaller than the capital’s, through which the vast majority of Lebanon’s food and other imports used to transit.
A fire at Beirut port on August 4 caught a huge stockpile of ammonium nitrate, causing an explosion that devastated swathes of the city and killed at least 171 people.
Immediately after the disaster, Lebanon’s Supreme Defense Council ordered that the port of Tripoli be prepped for “import and export operations.”
“The port of Tripoli can stand in for Beirut on a temporary basis, for the time it will take it to be operational again,” Tripoli port director Ahmad Tamer told AFP.
The smaller ports of Saida and Tyre can also contribute to the effort but their capacity is limited and does not allow for bigger vessels to dock.
Lebanon relies on imports for 85 percent of its food needs and the UN’s World Food Programme has warned that the destruction of the main port could worsen an already alarming situation.
Lebanon’s economic collapse in recent months has seen it default on its debt, sent the local currency into free-fall and poverty rates soaring to near third world levels, all amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tamer said seven ships that were on their way to Beirut on the day of the gigantic explosion immediately rerouted to Tripoli, where they unloaded their cargo.
Tripoli had already undergone major upgrade works in order to accomodate increased traffic expected in connection with the reconstruction effort needed in neighboring, war-ravaged Syria.
Tamer said that before the explosion Tripoli port was only functioning at 40 percent capacity, processing two million tons of imports per year, with a capacity to absorb a maximum of five million tons.
The port director said that he wanted to launch a plan to increase work at the port and hire more employees in order to process more than its current rate of 80,000 containers a year.