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Libyan mayors visit Italy to discuss cooperation

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17 Libyan mayors was present in Rome, this Thursday, they had a meeting with Italian ambassador to Libya, some representative of Foreign Minister, and some representatives. They talked about global situation in Libya, how to manage the crisis. But they talked also about “an agreement [which] was reached to facilitate Italian visa for Libyans and resumption of Tripoli-Rome flights”, Zuwara Municipality reported.

The RasLanuf site seems to be under control of LNA, some of them had been executed by BNB's soldiers

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During the journey of Saturday, an important conflit took place around RasLanuf, on of the most important oil terminal in Libya. At the beginning of the day, the Libyan National Army had admitted the losing control of RasLanuf from the Benghazi Defence Brigades (BDB). Its the second important port which is removed from LNA to BDB since December. However, later in the day, according to recent informations, the LNA had takeback the oil Terminal of RasLanuf. 15 of its soldiers had been kill according to their information, but this number is still to precise. Some of them had been executed by BNB’s soldiers. The RasLanuf site seems to be under control of LNA, but the situation looks still unstable.

Chances and opportunities of the chancellor’s visit to Egypt

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The chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, is paying a two-day visit to Egypt on Thursday, to discuss several political and economic issues between Egypt and the most powerful industrial country in the European Union. Throughout the visit, it is scheduled for Merkel to meet Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, Ahmed Al-Tayeb, and the Coptic patriarch, Pope Tawadros II. Meetings between German and Egyptian businesspeople will also take place during the visit, according to a press statement issued by the German embassy in Egypt. Under Al-Sisi, Egypt relied on German energy company Siemens to establish three power plants with a turnkey system in Beni Suef, Borollos, and the New Administrative Capital with a capacity of 14,400 MW, worth €8bn for both gas and wind plants.Egypt expects many things from the visit, such as attracting further investments from the industrial stronghold of Europe. The German chancellor is planning to discuss regional and national problems concerning refugees, the crisis in Libya, and the situation of German institutions in Egypt. Egypt also could provide Germany the opportunity to establish a German economic area in the Suez Canal Economic Zone, which might increase German exports to all nearby countries. The website of the German ministry of foreign affairs, auswaertiges-amt.de, says that Germany and Egypt enjoy close economic relations, especially in the area of trade. It stated that in 2015, bilateral trade grew by approximately 20% compared to the previous year, now worth EUR 5.2bn. Managing director at Multiples Group, Omar El-Shinity, believes that this visit will be beneficial for both countries regarding both, economics and politics.He believes that the deal with Siemens is designed to open a new path towards the EU, rather than just a deal to increase Egypt’s capacity of energy.

President Beji Caid Essebsi meets Khemaies Jhinaoui for a comprehensive political settlement in Libya

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President BejiCaidEssebsi Thursday received at Carthage Palace Foreign Minister KhemaiesJhinaoui. This meeting focused on  the latest developments as part of the presidential initiative for a comprehensive political settlement in Libya. They discussed also of the contacts established with the different Libyan sides and the Jhinaoui’spartecipation on the 34° regular session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC). Tunisia will chair the Arab League Council, on the Foreign Ministers’ level set for March 7 in Cairo, Egypt. Jhinaoui also will visit Baghdad on March 8-9 to strenghten bilateral relation between Tunisia and Iraq.

Libya’s power balance tilts towards Haftar, Trump officials view it with suspicion

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America, until now the key backer of the GNA, has fallen away. The new administration of President Donald Trump has yet to give definitive comments on Libya, but is expected to designate Muslim Brotherhood, one of the key factions in the GNA, as a terrorist organisation. As such, that would rub out any US support for the GNA and leave it floundering, and both Al Sarraj and Haftar know it. Whereas the erstwhile administration of former US president Barack Obama viewed Muslim Brotherhood as a positive non-violent expression of Islamism, Trump officials view it with suspicion, accusing it of links with violent groups. Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon has long made combatting Muslim Brotherhood his cause celebre. Yet, it is likely to suffer if the US designates it as a group supporting terrorism. Trump’s Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, used his confirmation hearing last month to equate Brotherhood with Al Qaida: “The demise of IS [Daesh, or the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant] would also allow us to devote our attention to other agents of radicalism like Al Qaida, Muslim Brotherhood and certain elements within Iran”.

Fayyad has said there will be “no deal” with the Israelis

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Former Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad has said there will be “no deal” with the Israelis over his appointment as the next UN envoy to Libya. There have been widespread reports that UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres offered former Israeli government minister TzipiLivni the post of assistant secretary-general in return for Israeli, and by extension, US support for Fayyad taking up the Libya envoy post. There has been no formal statement about the offer, and Livni herself has refused to make any comment. However, if appointed, she would be the first Israeli to hold a top UN job. Writing in his Facebook page, Fayyad said that he would have nothing to do with any such attempt to get around the US objection to his appointment, which in any event, he added, was completely illogical. The opposition of new US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley to his appointment on the basis that as a Palestinian he is unacceptable has resulted in a wave of international astonishment as well as criticism of Haley and of the Israeli government which subsequently backed her stand. Even in Israel there has been strong criticism. Fayyad, a former finance minister as well as prime minister, is widely respected as a moderate and pragmatist who tried to reform Palestinians institutions and put an end to corruption.

Libyan High Council of State agrees to meet Libyan House of Representatives delegation in Cairo to reach a political settlement to the Libyan civil conflict

Members of Libya’s High Council of State have agreed to meet a delegation from the Libyan House of Representatives in Cairo as part of talks hosted by Egypt to reach a political settlement to the Libyan civil conflict, according to Egypt’s army spokesman. Egypt’s Army Chief of Staff Mahmoud Hegazi, who is mediating talks between Libyan factions, received on Thursday the delegation from Libya’s High Council of State with the attendance of Egyptian foreign minister Sameh Shoukry. Talks were held on Monday and Tuesday between the chairman of the Libyan Presidential Council Fayaz Al-Sarraj, who is based in the capital Tripoli in the west of the country and is recognised by the UN as the country’s president, and Field Marshall Khalifa Haftar and Parliament Speaker Aguila Saleh, who both represent the House of Representatives in eastern Libya’s Tobruk. Attendants of the meeting expressed their appreciation for the Egyptian role to reach a solution to the Libyan crisis, calling on Libya’s House of Representatives to make use of this opportunity to save the situation in the country. Over the past months, Cairo has held meetings with different Libyan political factions, where Egypt has stressed the need for a political consensus to end the crisis in the country.

Ageela Saleh refused to meet Serraj; The intransigence of each party has resulted in the stagnation of a political solution and has increased the suffering of the Libyan people

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Presidency Council leader FaiezSerraj has claimed that the reason there was no meeting in Cairo between himself and KhalifaHafter was because Hafter had insisted on House of Representatives (HoR) President Ageela Saleh taking part in the talks but that Saleh had refused to meet Serraj. In an interview with the London-based Arabic daily Asharq Al-Awsat Serraj, who flew back to Tripoli last night from the Egyptian capital, blamed the breakdown on the stubbornness of the other two. “The intransigence of each party has resulted in the stagnation of a political solution and has increased the suffering of the Libyan people” he said. Ageela Saleh has already been accused by the US and the EU of blocking a settlement of the Libyan crisis and as a result is now sanctioned by both. Despite the problems in Cairo, Serraj nonetheless stated in his interview that he believed that dialogue would “inevitably” find a way out, adding that he would announce a new roadmap in the next few days.

Guterres met El-Sisi to discuss cooperation between Egypt and the UN

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres stated there is no alternative solution to the two-state solution in resolving the conflict between the Palestinians and Israelis. Guterres statement came during a joint press conference with Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry in Cairo. Guterres met with President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi Wednesday to discuss regional developments and cooperation between Egypt and the United Nations. On regional issues, the UN chief underlined the importance of carrying on with the Geneva track on ending the Syrian crisis, as well as providing a suitable atmosphere for reaching national reconciliation in Libya.

Italian ambassador Perrone stressed the LNA’s importance in the fight against terrorism

Italian ambassador Giuseppe Perrone has confirmed Italy’s view that the commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA), KhalifaHafter, has to be part of the solution to the Libyan crisis. He also stressed the LNA’s importance in the fight against terrorism in the country. He was speaking as Hafter was in Cairo for talks with the head of the Presidency Council Faeiz Serraj about his possible role in the political structure of Libya. “Italy believes there should be unified military organisation representing Libyans” the ambassador said in an interview. He added that Italy looked forward “to working with all Libyans who are committed to the fight against terrorism and to achieve stability in Libya”. Italy, along with France, the UK and other Western states and the UN have swung round to the view that Hafter, previously seen as an impediment to peace in Libya, has to be part of the political set-up. Perrone also reaffirmed that Italy had no active military presence in Libya, and dismissed the allegation that the Italians had been responsible for shooting down a Libyan National Army helicopter last week as complete nonsense.

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