Macron slams Turkey’s ‘criminal responsibility’ in Libya

French President Emmanuel Macron gives a press conference at the German government’s guest house Meseberg Castle in Gransee, near Berlin, Germany, Monday, June 29, 2020. (AP Photo)
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Updated 29 June 2020

Macron slams Turkey’s ‘criminal responsibility’ in Libya

  • Emmanuel Macron: I think this is a historic and criminal responsibility for someone who claims to be member of NATO
  • The Ankara-Paris strains soared further this month when France denounced an “extremely aggressive” intervention by Turkish ships against a French navy vessel

MESEBERG, Germany: French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday accused fellow NATO member Turkey of “criminal responsibility” over its involvement in the Libyan conflict, in an escalating row with Ankara.
Turkey has increased its military presence “and massively re-imported extremist fighters from Syria” even after foreign powers agreed earlier this year to end their meddling and respect a UN arms embargo, Macron told reporters.
“I think this is a historic and criminal responsibility for someone who claims to be a member of NATO,” Macron said after holding talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at Meseberg castle near Berlin.
Turkey’s conduct in Libya is “unacceptable to us,” Macron said, adding that the moment had come for Ankara to “urgently clarify” its stance.
Ankara supports Libya’s UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) in the conflict against rebel strongman Khalifa Haftar.
France is suspected by analysts of backing Haftar alongside Egypt, Russia and the United Arab Emirates, but insists it is neutral in the conflict.
Oil-rich Libya was thrown into chaos after veteran dictator Muammar Qaddafi was ousted in a 2011 NATO-backed uprising.
Rival administrations and militias have been vying for power ever since, increasingly drawing in foreign countries and threatening the region’s stability.
Macron last Monday accused Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government of playing a “dangerous game” in the north African country that could no longer be tolerated.
Turkey fired back the following day, saying it was “actually France which is playing a dangerous game in Libya” by supporting military leader Haftar in his campaign to take Tripoli.
Tensions have risen over the last year between Macron and Erdogan, notably when the French leader said the lack of NATO response to a unilateral Turkish operation in northern Syria showed the alliance was undergoing “brain death.”
The Ankara-Paris strains soared further this month when France denounced an “extremely aggressive” intervention by Turkish ships against a French navy vessel participating in a NATO mission in the Mediterranean, a claim Ankara dismissed as “groundless.”


Rome suspends flights from Bangladesh after virus cases

Updated 23 min 21 sec ago

Rome suspends flights from Bangladesh after virus cases

  • Of the 225 arriving Dhaka passengers on Monday, 21 tested positive for the disease, said Lazio’s top health official Alessio D’Amato
  • Lazio has sought to offer more testing for the community of Bangladeshis which numbers about 30,000 in Italy’s capital

ROME: Italy’s health minister ordered the suspension of flights to Rome from Bangladesh on Tuesday, after a spate of coronavirus cases within the community that authorities worry could expand.
On Monday, the Lazio region surrounding Rome issued a special decree calling for passengers from Dhaka to be given virus tests upon their arrival at Rome’s Fiumicino airport.
Of the 225 arriving Dhaka passengers on Monday, 21 tested positive for the disease, Lazio’s top health official Alessio D’Amato said on Tuesday, calling it a “veritable viral ‘bomb’ that we’ve defused.”
Health Minister Roberto Speranza said in a statement that a one-week suspension of flights had been ordered.
As of Monday, 32 coronavirus cases had been reported within the Bangladeshi community, Lazio president Nicola Zingaretti wrote in the decree. It was unclear whether that number included the positive cases among the passengers who arrived Monday.
Seventeen of the 32 cases were “imported” from abroad and 15 involved people in contact with those imported cases, the decree said.
It added that a two-week quarantine for passengers from Bangladesh had been insufficient to contain transmission of the virus.
There are currently 870 coronavirus cases in Lazio, with 14,709 in Italy overall, according to the latest official figures.
Since the crisis erupted in Italy in late February, 34,869 people have died of coronavirus, but the rate of new infections has slowed considerably, leading the government to roll back most lockdown restrictions.
Still, Speranza has warned of a possible second wave in the autumn, and has cautioned Italians to wear masks and avoid crowds, among other measures.
“The objective is to prevent the outbreak that is currently seen in Rome in the Bengali community from multiplying,” Francesco Vaia, health director of Rome’s Spallanzani hospital, told news wire AGI.
“It’s essential to put under control airports, ports and stations and activate a health surveillance on citizens coming from the non-Schengen area and in particular from countries where the virus is spreading.”
Beginning last month, passengers from Dhaka have arrived on special flights intended to bring Bangladeshi nationals residing in Italy back to their European homes and jobs following the coronavirus lockdown.
Italy’s borders are only open to those passengers coming from within Europe’s Schengen zone, as well as those from another 14 countries — a list that does not include Bangladesh.
Lazio has sought to offer more testing for the community of Bangladeshis which numbers about 30,000 in Italy’s capital, but only three people showed up at a special clinic offering free testing on Monday, Il Messagero daily said.
About 45,000 Bangladeshis reside in Italy, according to national statistics agency Istat.
Migration from Bangladesh to Italy has grown in recent years and many within the community work illegally in low-paying jobs.
Other cases involving Bangladeshis with links to flights from Dhaka have also been seen in Tuscany, according to news reports.