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Libya’s Haftar Leaves Moscow Without Signing Ceasefire Agreement

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Russian president Vladimir Putin has succeeded in getting the two warring sides in the Libyan conflict to sit down together in Moscow for peace talks.  The two figures, leader of the Libyan National Army forces in the east Khalifa Haftar, and Fayez Al-Sarraj, leader of the U.N.-recognized government in Tripoli, were already in Moscow on Monday.  This confirms Russia’s increasingly important role in Libya.

Libya’s warring leaders made some progress at indirect peace talks but failed to agree on an open-ended ceasefire to end a nine-month war over the capital Tripoli.

Mediators Russia and Turkey urged the rivals to sign a binding truce and pave the way for a settlement that would stabilize the North African country mired in chaos since the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

European countries, who are divided on the Libyan situation, have been unable to bring about an end to the Haftar assault on Tripoli that has become bloody in the past nine months.

Turkey and Russia jointly demanded the ceasefire last week, and it took effect on Sunday.  Both sides have accused each other of violations, but the ceasefire has been holding.

French president, Emmanuel Macron, told Putin on Monday he supported a ceasefire that was “credible, durable and verifiable.”

However on Tuesday in what was seen as a setback for an international diplomatic push in recent days, TASS news agency quoted Russia’s foreign ministry as saying, Haftar left Moscow in the early hours of the day without signing the deal drafted at the indirect talks.

Al Arabiya television network, quoted Haftar saying “the draft [agreement] ignores many of the Libyan army’s demands.”

Though Moscow insisted it would continue mediation efforts after the commander’s abrupt departure.

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Okonjo-Iweala Named Forbes Africa Person Of The Year

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Nigeria’s former Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has on Tuesday been named Forbes Africa Person of the Year 2020.

Forbes Africa disclosed this in a tweet saying Okonjo-Iweala who is a candidate for the office of the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), has been named “The 2020 African person of the Year.”

Reacting to the news, Okonjo-Iweala said she is “thrilled to be named Forbes Africa-CNBC ‘2020 African of the Year’ following in the footsteps of my great brothers Paul Kagame and Akin Adesina.”

She added “This award is for Africans suffering the health and economic impact of COVID-19. The energy and resilience of Africans inspires me”.

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Mauritania Uncovers Illegal Migration Networks

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Mauritanian authorities say they have uncovered more than 30 illegal migration networks and repatriated around 4,000 persons to various west African countries.

Interior minister, Mohamed Salem Ould Merzoug, told local media there had been an increase in the number of persons trying to reach Spain’s Canary Islands – an alternative route to the Mediterranean Sea where some migrants have been deterred by stricter controls and instability in Libya.

The United Nations has called for greater efforts to disrupt people-smuggling rings, after more than 140 persons died off the coast of Senegal in October in the deadliest shipwreck of the year.

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Amnesty Urges UN To Maintain South Sudan Arms Embargo

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Amnesty International is urging the United Nations Security Council to maintain its arms embargo on South Sudan amid what the human rights group calls “extreme violence by government forces, and an increase in attacks on civilians, including war crimes.”

The UN security council is due to conduct a mid-term review of its arms embargo and other measures on South Sudan before mid-December.

The council first established an arms embargo on South Sudan in 2018.  It was renewed last year and subsequently extended by a year in may this year.

Amnesty says it had documented “a series of extrajudicial executions, forced displacement, torture, and destruction of civilian property by government and former opposition forces.”

The group cited a four-fold increase in violence in the states of Jonglei, Lakes, Warrap and Western Equatoria between April and June compared to the same period last year.

Amnesty says as South Sudan was calling for the embargo to be reviewed earlier this year, “government soldiers were shooting civilians, burning homes, raping women and girls, and displacing tens of thousands of people from their villages in the south of the country.”

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