Stop ignoring Libya, President Vella warns

OPR

Why are the UN and the Western world ignoring Libya, asked President George Vella in a tweet on Friday. Vella said that a humanitarian disaster is developing in Tripoli, Libya and if the world continues to ignore this pending disaster “It will cost us dear!”

General Khalifa Haftar launched his offensive against the Tripoli government on April 4. Hundreds have been killed and thousands displaced. The Tripoli government led Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj has the support of the United Nations but has now lost the support of the United States.

Humanitarian disaster

Vella was for a number of years Malta’s Foreign Minister and his tweet shows that he still holds the sector to his heart, though observers noted that Vella spoke of the pending humanitarian disaster and not on the political ramifications of the conflict between the army of General Khalifa Haftar and the Tripoli government of National Accord in Tripoli, led by Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj. This government is recognized by many countries including Member States of the European Union and also by the United Nations. Hafter launched his assault on April 4.

According to statistics released earlier this week by the World Health Organisation more than 200 people have been killed since the violence erupted, and more than 900 wounded. At the same time the International Organization for Migration said that the number of displaced persons is now over 25,000.

Trump reverses USA’s position

General Khalifa Haftar has the support of Egypt and the United Arab Emirates who regard him as a bulwark against Islamists. A White House statement said that on Monday Trump and Haftar spoke by phone “to discuss ongoing counterterrorism efforts to achieve peace and stability in Libya”. In their phone call, Trump “recognised Field Marshal Haftar’s significant role in fighting terrorism and securing Libya’s oil resources, and the two discussed a shared vision for Libya’s transition to a stable, democratic political system”. Though the phone call happened on Monday, the White House made it public days later. The phone call is seen as a reversal of the position of the United States on the conflct in Libya. Earlier this month Secretary of State Mike Pompeo demanded an immediate halt to Haftar’s offensive.

Yesterday thousands of protesters took to the streets in Libya’s capital to protest against the position taken by the United States.

 

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