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)
Short Url
Updated 14 June 2020

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.


Malaysia to reinstate pilots once Pakistani licenses OK’d

Updated 07 July 2020

Malaysia to reinstate pilots once Pakistani licenses OK’d

  • 30 percent of pilots grounded including 107 in foreign airlines

KUALA LUMPUR: The Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) will reinstate Pakistani pilots as soon as Pakistani authorities verify their permits, an official told Arab News on Monday, after their temporary suspension due to a fake license scandal. 

Pakistan grounded almost 30 percent of its pilots last week after the country’s Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan said that they might have falsified their qualifications. 

Pakistan has 860 pilots, 107 of whom work for foreign airlines.

“The CAAM has sent two letters requesting verification from PCAA (Pakistani Civil Aviation Authority) as well as to inform them on the temporary suspension of Pakistani license holders in Malaysia,” Nurilya Anis Rahim, a public relations officer at CAAM, said in an email. 

Rahim added that the pilots’ licenses had been put on hold until further information from the PCAA.

“We are currently still waiting for a response from PCAA. Once an official confirmation has been made, we will reinstate these pilots with immediate effect.”

Captain Chester Voo, CAAM CEO, announced that it would temporarily suspend 20 Pakistani pilots employed with “local operators” such as flying schools, flying clubs and training organizations.

Rahim said that the decision was taken to ensure the safety and security of Malaysia’s civil aviation industry. 

“It is to ensure that all employed pilots in this country hold a valid license and abide by Malaysia’s Civil Aviation Regulation.”

The UK, EU and Vietnam have banned Pakistani pilots and barred Pakistan International Airlines’ (PIA) operations as well.

One analyst said that Malaysia’s stand was part of its “zero-compromises” approach.

“Malaysia has always taken a conservative stance which includes a zero-compromise on the integrity of certification and qualification of pilots,” Rizal Kamaruzzaman, a Malaysian aviation expert and executive director of Tindakan Strategi, told Arab News.

He added that the joint verification approach was an excellent opportunity for regulators in Pakistan and Malaysia to “clean” the register and weed out all pilots with dubious qualifications. 

“The move by the CAAM will also alert the rest of the airlines and general aviation aircraft to review the technical crew manifest flying into Malaysia and will definitely have a ripple effect on the aviation sector.”

He urged aviation regulators from other countries to learn a lesson from Pakistan.

“The trust and mutual recognition among regulators are a sacred pact to ensure safety for aircraft, pilots, crews, engineers and the main client that are the passengers are not compromised anywhere around the world,” he said.

Related