Libya ceasefire under threat, warns Arab League chief 

Special Libya ceasefire under threat, warns Arab League chief 
Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit at the 29th Arab Summit in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, April 15, 2018. (Reuters)
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Updated 06 March 2022

Libya ceasefire under threat, warns Arab League chief 

Libya ceasefire under threat, warns Arab League chief 
  • Ahmed Aboul Gheit: The conditions in Libya today have become more than ever a reason for holding elections
  • Libyan elections were scheduled for Dec. 24 last year, but were postponed to a later date

CAIRO: A standoff between two rival governments in Libya threatens to undermine the peace secured by the 2020 ceasefire agreement, Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit has warned.

He said Libya “could return to the difficult stage it witnessed before the agreement.”

It comes after the Libyan House of Representatives swore in a new rival government headed by Fathi Bashagha. The existing Government of National Unity, headed by Abdu Hamid Dbeibah, rejected the voting process through which the Bashagha government obtained confidence.

An official source in the organization’s general secretariat said Aboul Gheit “once again appeals to all Libyan representatives to work seriously and responsibly towards creating the necessary security, political and legal conditions for holding national elections at the earliest possible opportunity, in order to fulfill the wishes of the Libyan voters.”

Aboul Gheit added: “The conditions in Libya today have become more than ever a reason for holding elections, renewing the legitimacy of Libyan institutions and ending the transitional stages that were prolonged in a way that made them lose their effectiveness in achieving the goals for which they were founded.”

The Arab League source said Aboul Gheit stressed the importance of a political process that would put the country on the path of stability and construction, noting “the league’s permanent readiness to support any serious Libyan effort that secures consensus on a clear, practical and scheduled political road map with specific periods of time.”

Libyan elections were scheduled for Dec. 24 last year, but were postponed to a later date.


Iran ready to swap prisoners, urges US to free jailed Iranians

Iran ready to swap prisoners, urges US to free jailed Iranians
Updated 5 sec ago

Iran ready to swap prisoners, urges US to free jailed Iranians

Iran ready to swap prisoners, urges US to free jailed Iranians
DUBAI: Iran is ready to swap prisoners with the United States, its foreign ministry spokesman was quoted as saying on Wednesday, calling on President Joe Biden’s administration to “act instead of performing theatrical shows.”
Tehran has sought the release of over a dozen Iranians in the United States, including seven Iranian-American dual nationals, two Iranians with permanent US residency and four Iranian citizens with no legal status in the United States.
“We are ready to swap prisoners with Washington ... The US must release jailed Iranian citizens without any conditions,” the semi-official Fars news agency quoted foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani as saying.
On Tuesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken tweeted that Siamak Namazi had now spent 2,500 days “wrongfully detained” in Iran and Washington was determined to secure the freedom of all Americans held by its Middle East adversary.
Kanaani spoke as Tehran and Washington sought to revive a 2015 nuclear pact after lengthy negotiations. The European Union and United States said on Tuesday they were studying Iran’s response to what the EU has called its “final” proposal to save the deal, after Tehran called on Washington to show flexibility.

Israel, Turkey to restore full diplomatic representation -- Israeli PM statement

 Israel, Turkey to restore full diplomatic representation -- Israeli PM statement
Updated 3 min 5 sec ago

Israel, Turkey to restore full diplomatic representation -- Israeli PM statement

 Israel, Turkey to restore full diplomatic representation -- Israeli PM statement

 Israel, Turkey to restore full diplomatic representation -- Israeli PM statement  


Egypt’s FM addresses Caribbean meeting on climate change

Egypt’s FM addresses Caribbean meeting on climate change
Updated 17 August 2022

Egypt’s FM addresses Caribbean meeting on climate change

Egypt’s FM addresses Caribbean meeting on climate change

CAIRO: In his capacity as president-designate of the 27th UN Climate Change Conference, Egypt’s foreign minister delivered a speech via video at the opening of a Caribbean regional meeting on climate change, hosted by the Bahamas.

Sameh Shoukry presented Egypt’s vision for the UN conference and the most prominent topics on its agenda.

He stressed the importance of shifting from promises to implementation, and of mobilizing the necessary support for global climate action.

Shoukry highlighted the need to support developing countries, including island nations, against the repercussions of climate change.

Before participating in the meeting, he held a video conference call with the Bahamas’ Prime Minister Philip Davis.


Syria denies holding US journalist Tice captive

Syria denies holding US journalist Tice captive
Updated 53 min 25 sec ago

Syria denies holding US journalist Tice captive

Syria denies holding US journalist Tice captive
  • US is certain Tice is being held by the government of President Bashar Assad

DAMASCUS: The Syrian government on Wednesday denied holding American nationals captive, including journalist Austin Tice who was abducted a decade ago in Damascus.
It issued a statement in response to US President Jo Biden saying last week that he knows “with certainty” that Tice “has been held by the Syrian regime,” and calling on Damascus to help bring him home.
The foreign ministry denied the accusation in a statement carried by the official SANA news agency.
“The Syrian Arab Republic denies that it has kidnapped or forcibly disappeared any American citizen who entered its territory or resided in areas under its authority,” the statement said.
It said it would only accept “official dialogue or communication with the American administration if the talks are public and premised on a respect for Syria’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.”
Tice was a freelance photojournalist working for Agence France-Presse, McClatchy News, The Washington Post, CBS and other news organizations when he disappeared after being detained at a checkpoint near Damascus on August 14, 2012.
Thirty-one years old at the time he went missing, Tice appeared blindfolded in the custody of an unidentified group of armed men in a video a month later, but there has been little news of him since.
Biden’s statement came on the tenth anniversary of Tice’s disappearance.
“There is no higher priority in my administration than the recovery and return of Americans held hostage or wrongfully detained abroad,” Biden said.
The previous administration under Donald Trump sent a White House official on a rare mission to Damascus in 2020, aiming to seek Tice’s freedom.
But that mission yielded no visible results.
In 2018, US authorities announced a $1 million reward for information that would lead to the journalist’s recovery.


Egypt to release 25 pretrial detainees: report

Egypt to release 25 pretrial detainees: report
Updated 17 August 2022

Egypt to release 25 pretrial detainees: report

Egypt to release 25 pretrial detainees: report

CAIRO: Egypt will release 25 pretrial detainees pending investigations on Wednesday, according to a member of the Presidential Pardon Committee. 

The group of pretrial detainees are to be released within around 24 hours, said Tarek El-Kholy, as quoted by Ahlam Online.   

This will be the latest batch of pretrial detainees released pending investigations.

The Presidential Pardon Committee is mandated to review the cases of pretrial detainees for political crimes.

El-Kholy previously noted in an interview with The Africa Report that only individuals who have not participated in violent acts or killed military personnel or civilians will be considered for pardon.  

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi re-affirmed on several occasions that Egypt holds no political prisoners and that the government promotes respect for human rights.