France says Turkey conduct in Libya 'unacceptable'

France says Turkey conduct in Libya 'unacceptable'
Members of security forces affiliated with the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA)'s Interior Ministry stand at a make-shift checkpoint in the town of Tarhuna, about 65 kilometres southeast of the capital Tripoli on June 11, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 14 June 2020

France says Turkey conduct in Libya 'unacceptable'

France says Turkey conduct in Libya 'unacceptable'
  • Paris is angered by an "even more aggressive and insistent stance from Turkey"
  • "The Turks are behaving in an unacceptable manner and are exploiting NATO" the French official said

PARIS: France on Sunday slammed Turkey's "aggressive" intervention in the Libya conflict as unacceptable, accusing its fellow NATO member of violating a UN arms embargo and sending half a dozen ships to the war-torn country's coast.
Turkey, supported by its main regional ally Qatar, backs the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli in the conflict against the forces of eastern Libya strongman Khalifa Haftar.
France, despite public denials, has long been suspected of favouring Haftar, who has the backing of Egypt, Russia and the United Arab Emirates.
Paris is angered by an "even more aggressive and insistent stance from Turkey, with seven Turkish ships deployed off the Libyan coast and violations of the arms embargo," a senior presidential official said.
"The Turks are behaving in an unacceptable manner and are exploiting NATO. France cannot just stand by," added the official, who asked not to be named.
French President Emmanuel Macron has already held talks on the issue this week with US leader Donald Trump, and "exchanges will take place in the weeks to come on this subject with NATO partners," the official said.
The comments came after a Turkish warship on Wednesday prevented a new EU naval mission enforcing the Libya arms embargo from checking a suspect freighter off the Libyan coast.
Turkey has sent Syrian fighters, military advisors and drones in support of the GNA, in a deployment which has changed the course of the conflict, with Haftar's forces enduring a string of defeats.
Tensions have risen over the last yeat between Macron and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, notably when the French leader said that the lack of NATO response to a unilateral Turkish operation in northern Syria showed that the alliance was undergoing "brain death".
Despite being on opposing sides of the conflict, some analysts think that Russia and Turkey may yet to find an accord for Libya as they did with Syria.
But Russia's foreign and defence ministers postponed a planned visit to Turkey on Sunday to discuss the Libya and Syria conflicts, without any clear reason being given.


Taliban leaders, US envoy meet in Doha

Taliban leaders, US envoy meet in Doha
Updated 11 min 8 sec ago

Taliban leaders, US envoy meet in Doha

Taliban leaders, US envoy meet in Doha
  • ‘Both sides expressed their commitment to the Doha agreement and discussed its full implementation’

DOHA: Washington’s special envoy to Afghanistan met with the Taliban in Qatar, the insurgents said Saturday, as efforts intensify to revive a peace process faced with mounting violence and a US troop withdrawal deadline.
The envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad, held talks earlier this week with Afghan leaders in Kabul, including President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, chair of Afghanistan’s High Council for National Reconciliation which oversees the government’s talks with the insurgents in Qatar.
Taliban spokesman Muhamad Naeem tweeted that Khalilzad and the top US general in Afghanistan met with the insurgents’ negotiating team in Doha, including Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, late Friday.
“Both sides expressed their commitment to the Doha agreement and discussed its full implementation. Likewise, the current situation of Afghanistan and the rapidity and effectiveness of the Intra-Afghan negotiations were discussed,” he wrote.
Speculation is rife over America’s future in Afghanistan, after the White House announced plans to review a withdrawal deal brokered by Khalilzad and the Taliban in Doha last year.
Under that agreement, the US is set to withdraw from Afghanistan in May, but a surge in fighting has sparked concerns that a speedy exit may unleash greater chaos as peace talks between the Kabul government and Taliban continue to stall.
The accord states that the US will withdraw all troops from Afghanistan, with the Taliban promising not to allow territory to be used by terrorists – the original goal of the US invasion following the September 11, 2001 attacks.
Khalilzad’s visit marks the first time he has publicly returned to Qatar since US President Joe Biden took office in January and asked him to stay on in his post.


6 Ukrainians die, dozens injured in bus crash in Poland

6 Ukrainians die, dozens injured in bus crash in Poland
Updated 31 min 30 sec ago

6 Ukrainians die, dozens injured in bus crash in Poland

6 Ukrainians die, dozens injured in bus crash in Poland
  • The accident occurred around midnight on the A4 motorway near the town of Jaroslaw
  • There was no immediate cause given for the accident

WARSAW, Poland: A bus carrying dozens of Ukrainian citizens rolled off an embankment into a ditch in Poland, killing six people and injuring 41, Polish media reported on Saturday.
The accident occurred around midnight on the A4 motorway near the town of Jaroslaw, which is in southeastern Poland near the border with Ukraine.
TNV24, a private all-news station, reported that the bus had a Ukrainian license plate and was traveling with 57 Ukrainian citizens, including two drivers.
A large rescue operation early Saturday involved dozens of firefighters, paramedics and helicopters to transport the injured to hospitals.
There was no immediate cause given for the accident.
Ukrainians travel for work to Poland, a European Union state on Ukraine’s western border. Ukrainians fill gaps in the labor market in Poland, which has experienced fast economic growth in recent years.


Iranian militias claim to have active cells in Washington DC

Iranian militias claim to have active cells in Washington DC
Updated 06 March 2021

Iranian militias claim to have active cells in Washington DC

Iranian militias claim to have active cells in Washington DC
  • Additional claims that terror factions associated with Iran are growing stronger and attracting more support

DUBAI: Iranian militia groups have active cells operating in the US capital Washington DC and other US cities, according to chatrooms used by the groups.
Kawtheryoon Electronic Team, a Telegram network used by Iranian militia groups and supporters, claimed in a recent posting that Iranian “resistance cells are rooted even in America and its capital,” Fox News reported, citing a copy of the English-language posting captured by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), which tracks radical groups.
The militia additionally claimed that terror factions associated with Iran are growing stronger and attracting more support than ever before, as they demanded a withdraw all of American troops from Iraq and the Middle East.
The Telegram post included a picture of caskets containing US soldiers, Fox News said.
The claims of Iranian terrorist cells being present in the US comes as the Biden administration seeks to directly engage Iran in pursuit of inking a revamped nuclear accord.
President Joe Biden has earlier said Iran must cut its uranium enrichment before any return to talks over the Iranian regime’s nuclear program.
Iran nonetheless continues to sponsor terrorism, Fox News reported, and has shown no signs of backing down from its active operations in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and other Middle Eastern hotspots.
It also has continued to support strikes on US personnel stationed in Iraq, and was likely behind a Wednesday rocket attack on an Iraqi air base that houses American troops, it added.


Pakistani PM wins vote of confidence amidst opposition protest, boycott

Pakistani PM wins vote of confidence amidst opposition protest, boycott
Updated 06 March 2021

Pakistani PM wins vote of confidence amidst opposition protest, boycott

Pakistani PM wins vote of confidence amidst opposition protest, boycott
  • Khan was able to secure 178 votes, against the 172 required to win confidence
ISLAMABAD: Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan won a vote of confidence from parliament on Saturday in a session marked by opposition boycott and protest.
Khan was able to secure 178 votes, against the 172 required to win confidence, the speaker of the house announced.
Khan had himself volunteered to seek parliament’s confidence after the government’s finance minister lost a high-profile Senate seat election earlier in the week.

Russia reports 11,022 new COVID-19 cases, 441 deaths

Russia reports 11,022 new COVID-19 cases, 441 deaths
Updated 06 March 2021

Russia reports 11,022 new COVID-19 cases, 441 deaths

Russia reports 11,022 new COVID-19 cases, 441 deaths
  • The government’s coronavirus taskforce said that 441 people had died in the last 24 hours

MOSCOW: Russia on Saturday reported 11,022 new COVID-19 cases, including 1,820 in Moscow, taking the national case tally to 4,312,181 since the pandemic began.
The government’s coronavirus taskforce said that 441 people had died in the last 24 hours, bringing the Russian death toll to 88,726.