Libyan rivals meet in Morocco for peace talks

The Libyan Dialogue meeting between rival Libyan parties was held in the resort town of Bouznika, south of the capital Rabat, under the auspices of Moroccan foreign minister Nasser Bourita. (Facebook/@MarocDiplomatie)
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Updated 06 September 2020

Libyan rivals meet in Morocco for peace talks

  • Libyan Dialogue hopes to lay the groundwork for a further meeting in Geneva
  • The talks are the first meeting between the two sides in months

LONDON: Libya’s warring governments met in Morocco on Sunday for talks aimed at resolving the conflict.
The meeting in the coastal resort of Bouznika, south of Rabat, was attended by five members from the House of Representatives (HOR), based in eastern Libya, and five from the High Council of State located in the capital Tripoli.
The High Council of State is an advisory body to the UN backed Government of National Accord (GNA).
The talks are the first meeting between the two sides in months and come after a cease-fire was declared last month.
Shortly before the talks, Fayez Al-Sarraj, who heads the GNA, met with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul. Turkey is the main financial and military backer of the GNA and is accused of exacerbating the conflict by supplying weapons and Syrian mercenaries to the Libyan battlefields.
The talks in Morocco hope to lay the groundwork for a further meeting in Geneva, Morocco’s foreign ministry said.
The dialogue aims to stabilize the cease-fire and open negotiations to resolve differences between the factions. Thorny issues to be discussed include the Central Bank and the National Oil Corporation.
Khalid Al-Mishri, head of the High Council of State, said Libya is going through “economic, political and security crises” but that they “will endeavor with the House of Representatives to avoid a new war.”
Morocco’s foreign minister called for restoring confidence between the two sides as the talks got underway.
“We opened the way for a Libyan-Libyan dialogue without any interference, and we call for building understandings between the Libyan parties,” Nasser Bourita said.
“Morocco does not have an agenda in Libya and does not have a Moroccan solution to the crisis. Rather, it only has a sincere will to help the Libyan brothers in order to enter into a discussion to find a Libyan solution to their crisis, by keeping pace with the work of the United Nations.”
Morocco has increased mediating efforts in the conflict that was sparked by the downfall of Muammar Qaddafi in 2011. 
Al-Mishri visited Rabat in July at the same time as the HOR President Aguila Saleh and Acting Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya Stephanie Williams.
The HOR is backed by the Libyan National Army and its commander Khalifa Haftar.

Last month, the two warring sides announced separately that they would cease all hostilities and hold nationwide elections, drawing praise from world powers after a series of fruitless initiatives in recent years to stop the conflict.

Egyptian ministry of irrigation — torrent season begins

A general view of the High Dam in Aswan, Egypt February 19, 2020. (REUTERS
Updated 29 min 13 sec ago

Egyptian ministry of irrigation — torrent season begins

  • Preliminary indications of the flood showed that it is higher than average and that the incoming waters during August and September are so far higher than those of last year

CAIRO: Egypt’s flood season began in August and will continue for three months — and the torrent season is about to begin — Mohamed El-Sebaei, spokesman for the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation, has confirmed.

The Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation continues to prepare for the torrent season and to deal with flooding, which has caused the levels of the Nile to rise significantly over the past few days.

El-Sebaei said the ministry is monitoring the quantities of water that reach Egypt and accumulate in front of the High Dam on a daily basis, pointing out that the Minister of Irrigation, Mohamed Abdel-Ati, has been in Aswan since yesterday to inspect the water facilities of the High Dam.

He said that the torrential season is about to start in the period between autumn and winter, and that the ministry is following up with all torrent, canal and drain networks to ensure that they are ready to receive any volume of water and to preserve private and public property.

The ministry is preparing to cope with the torrents and rains expected to occur during autumn and winter by preparing Lake Nasser, located behind the High Dam, which is one of the most important strategic points in containing the quantities of water coming from the Ethiopian plateau.

The Egyptian River Revenue Regulatory Committee, in its meeting headed by Abdel-Ati, reviewed the situation of the Nile flood, the procedures for monitoring, analyzing and evaluating its condition, and the quantities of water expected to arrive until the end of the current water year 2021-2022.

According to a statement by the Ministry of Irrigation, the rates of rain in the sources of the Nile is expected to start decreasing by the end of September.

Preliminary indications of the flood showed that it is higher than average and that the incoming waters during August and September are so far higher than those of last year. Is still too early to make a final judgment on the type and size of this year’s flood.

Eman El-Sayed, head of the planning sector and head of the forecast center at the Ministry of Irrigation, said the center works to calculate the rates of rain that fall on the upper Nile River countries until it reaches the country on a daily basis. She explained that the latest technology is used to take satellite images and download mathematical models to determine the amount of rain falling and when it will fall.

El-Sayed added that the ministry holds two meetings every week to discuss the developments of the flood season, which have been confirmed more than once to be very high — once during the meeting of the River Revenue Regulatory Committee and the other during the Leadership Committee meeting.

She pointed to the development of three scenarios to deal with a flood. If it comes at a power 10 percent stronger than expected, it will be water drainage as usual. If it comes 50 percent stronger than expected, the excess will be dealt with through drains and waterways and the Toshka spillway will open. If it is stronger than that, the country will declare a state of emergency, she said.