Italy defense ministry seeks closer ties with Libya

Prime Minister of Libya’s UN-recognized Government of National Accord Fayez Al-Sarraj (R) meets with Italian Minister of Defense Lorenzo Guerrini (2nd L) in the capital Tripoli, on August 5, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 06 August 2020

Italy defense ministry seeks closer ties with Libya

  • Both countries will collaborate on reclamation and demining activities
  • The ministry cited a “mutual willingness” to cooperate on defense “for an improvement” in relations

ROME: Italy’s defense ministry said on Wednesday it would strengthen cooperation with Libya, citing a willingness for improved relations with the war-torn country’s UN-recognized government.
Italian Defense Minister Lorenzo Guerini met in Tripoli on Wednesday with Fayez Al-Sarraj, the head of Libya’s Government of National Accord, the ministry said in a brief statement.
Both countries will collaborate on reclamation and demining activities, the ministry said, while expanding cooperation in medicine and military health within the Misurata hospital, which it said would be moved to a “more functional area.”
The statement also cited construction of a new hospital center in Tripoli, and a plan to train Libyan military officers and cadets.
The ministry cited a “mutual willingness” to cooperate on defense “for an improvement” in relations.
Libya’s unity government, with Turkey’s backing, is battling forces loyal to strongman Khalifa Haftar, who has support from Egypt, Russia and the United Arab Emirates. A year-long push by Haftar to seize the capital of Tripoli was repelled in June.
Italy’s foreign minister, Luigi Di Maio, met Al-Sarraj in late June, promising that a Mediterranean naval operation to enforce an ongoing arms embargo would be effective.
Italy, which is the main arrival point for migrants leaving Libya, signed an agreement with Libya in 2017 for its coast guard to block migrants before they can reach Europe.
Rights groups have severely criticized the deal, as migrants are returned to overcrowded detention centers in Libya, where many are victims of abuse and even torture.


Jordan fund for response plan to Syrian crisis now at $644 million

Updated 51 min 48 sec ago

Jordan fund for response plan to Syrian crisis now at $644 million

  • The total aid set undet the scheme stood at $2.49 billion
  • The US topped the response plan donor list, with a grant of around $372 million

DUBAI: Funds for the Jordan Response Plan to the Syrian Crisis have reached at $644 million, the country’s Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation said.

The figure was only 28 percent of the total aid – $2.49 billion – showing a $1.6 billion deficit since the beginning of 2020, according to state news agency Petra.

About $155 million was allocated to support Syrian refugees in Jordan, $139 million to host communities, and $350 million to treasury.

The allocation did not include institution capacity building, government data has showed.

The figures revealed the US as the top donor for the response plan, donating around $372 million, followed by Germany whose grant reached $83.8 million.