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October 24, 2021
WORLD

London conference on Libya not solve key problems, rifts

LONDON/TRIPOLI – The London Conference on Libya held Tuesday has not settled any major problems concerning the Libyan crisis and the disputes between the countries conducting an ongoing military operation against Libya, observers say.


The three-hour conference brought together representatives from nearly 40 countries and some major international blocs including the United Nations, NATO, the European Union (EU) and the Arab League, Xinhua reports.


At a press briefing after the con­ference, British Foreign Secre­tary William Hague claimed the West-led coalition, which has conducted the military operation since March 19, has been “widened,” saying Sweden had agreed to join the operation by supplying eight fighter jets to patrol the no-fly zone. Hague also said the conference agreed to set up a contact group to lead international efforts to map out Libya’s future. However, the participants did not reach any consensus on the key issues such as what the final aim of the military operation is, when the operation should be wrapped up and whether NATO would limit the air strikes after assuming command, analysts say.


Meanwhile, there are a wide range of other disputes concerning the Libya crisis. First, some major players on the global stage like the African Union (AU), Russia and China did not back the West-dominated air strikes on Libya from the beginning. Arab League chief Amr Moussa, who has blasted the air raids, did not attend the conference at all and only sent his deputy here. AU Commission Chairman Jean Ping, who was expected to attend the London conference, did not appear either.


Jean Ping has reiterated the AU opposes any foreign military intervention in Libya and expressed discontent toward the Western forces for not consulting with the AU sufficiently before launching the military operation. Russia has been urging the coalition forces to cease fire in Libya immediately. China has also opposed the military attacks by the Western forces on Libya. Second, apparent disputes even remain among attendees of the hastily-arranged London conference. Third, the countries contributing to the military operation face increasing domestic pressure.


ROMANIA – READY TO TAKE PART TO RECONSTRUCTION


Foreign Minister Teodor Baconschi said, after the conference in London, that Romania is ready to take part to reconstruction after the conflict in Libya, Mediafax informs. Baconschi added that the conference aimed also at coordination of humanitarian assistance and institutional reconstruction in the post-Gaddafi era. Romania supported the idea that all operations are coordinated by NATO. Romania will contribute to the process in Libya by sending ‘Regele Ferinand’ frigate to impose arms embargo on sea and by granting logistic support for future humanitarian corridors.


POSSIBILITY OF ARMING LIBYAN REBELS COULD BE HINDERED BY TRAINING


With the threat of a better armed, better trained pro-government force inciting more bloodshed in Libya, the United States is considering arming the country’s opposition – though questions prevail about how to do so responsibly. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Tuesday that arming the opposition is legal, based on a United Nations resolution allowing member states “to take all necessary measures” – with the exception of foreign occupation – to protect civilians under the threat of attack in Libya.


In interviews Tuesday with the three major U.S. television networks, U.S. President Barack Obama said he was open to arming the rebel fighters.


GADDAFI FORCES PUSH REBELS BACK


Rebels in Libya are struggling to hold their front line after Col Muammar Gaddafi’s forces recaptured several towns in the east of the country, CNN reports. The rebels have now lost the key oil port of Ras Lanuf and the nearby town of Bin Jawad. However, reports say the fighting is continuing in the area. In the west, the rebel-held town of Misrata is still coming under attack from pro-Gaddafi troops, reports say.


BERLUSCONI VISITS MIGRANT ISLAND OF LAMPEDUSA


Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi has arrived on the island of Lam­pedusa as ships move thousands of migrants who have recently arrived there, BBC reports. Hundreds, travelling mainly from Libya and Tunisia, have been arriving on the shores of the tiny island south of Sicily each night. Its residents have protested, occupying the town hall and threatening to cut off supplies if ships do not arrive. Officials say sanitary conditions on the island are now “desperate”.


UK TAKES STEPS TO EXPEL FIVE LIBYAN DIPLOMATS


The UK has taken steps to expel five Libyan diplomats, Foreign Secretary William Hague has said. Updating MPs on the crisis, he said they “could pose a threat” to national security.


BULGARIAN NAVY FRIGATE JOINS NATO LIBYA MISSION


Bulgaria’s government ap­pro­ved on Wednesday the deployment of a navy frigate to join NATO’s Operation “United Protector” patrolling off Libya’s coast to enforce a UN arms embargo, novitiate reports. The frigate “Drazki” (i.e. “Daring”) will be manned by 160-member crew. The Bulgarian Navy has already started to prepare it for the NATO naval mission off the Libyan coast. The government approved sending the frigate for three months to the Mediterranean Sea to take part in the operation, but it will not stay there during the whole period.


NICARAGUA TO REPRESENT LIBYA TO THE UN


Nicaragua says the government of embattled Libyan ruler Muam­mar Gaddafi has named former Nica­raguan Foreign Minister Mi­guel D’Escoto as its representative to the United Nations, pressTV reports. Ali Triki, who was pre­viously named as Libya’s envoy to the United Nations, has been denied a visa by the United States. Thus, the Libyan regime has made the decision to name D’Escoto as its UN envoy, according to a spokesman for Nicaraguan Presi­dent Daniel Ortega’s government.

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