Daily Archives: January 5, 2020

Death Toll From Airstrike in Libya Climbs to 30

CAIRO – The death toll from an airstrike that slammed into a military facility in Libya’s capital climbed to at least 30 people, most of them military trainees, health authorities said Sunday, as fighting over control of Tripoli between rival armed groups escalated.

Eastern Libyan forces led by Gen. Khalifa Hifter launched an offensive in April to take the capital from the weak but U.N.-supported government. Libya is governed by rival authorities in the east and in Tripoli in the west, with each relying on different militias.

The airstrike hit a military academy used by the Tripoli-allied militias late Saturday in the Hadaba area, just south of the city center, the health ministry of the Tripoli-based government said. Fighting and shelling between the two sides has been raging for months in the area.

The U.N.-supported Libyan government in Tripoli blamed the airstrike on Hifter’s self-styled Libyan National Army.

A spokesman for the LNA, Ahmed al-Mesmari, denied launching airstrikes on the military academy, blaming the attack on Islamic militants. Neither side provided evidence to support their accusations.

Hifter has declared a “final” and decisive battle for the capital. That followed a military and maritime agreement Tripoli authorities signed with their ally Turkey calling for the deployment of Turkish troops to Libya.

Turkey’s parliament on Thursday authorized sending forces to Libya to support Tripoli authorities. Libya’s eastern-based parliament condemned the move along with other regional and world powers, including Saudi Arabia, which on Saturday called it a threat to Arab and regional security, according to the kingdom’s official news agency.

Ghassan Salame, the U.N. envoy to Libya, said Turkish troops on the ground would further diminish chances for ending the violence.

Salame expects the warring Libyan groups to meet for peace talks in Germany in mid-January.

The ambulance service in Tripoli said the airstrike also wounded at least 33 people. It posted images of dead bodies and those wounded being treated at a hospital.

The U.N. Support Mission in Libyan condemned in “the strongest terms” the attack. It warned in a statement against “growing escalation” in the violence.

Separately, an LNA official said a drone strike Sunday killed three troops at an LNA airbase in western Libya. The official blamed the Tripoli-allied militias for the attack, which he said used a Turkish-made drone. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the media.

Tripoli’s siege has killed hundreds of people, mostly combatants, and displaced thousands of families in the city and the surrounding areas.

The conflict threatens to plunge Libya into levels of chaos rivaling the 2011 uprising that ousted and later killed its ruler, Moammar Gadhafi.

France, Egypt, Russia, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and other key Arab countries support Hifter and his allies in the east. The Tripoli-based government is backed by Qatar, Italy and Turkey.

Last month, U.N. experts in a report to the U.N. Security Council said that “Jordan, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates routinely and sometimes blatantly supplied weapons, with little effort to disguise the source” in violation of the U.N. arms embargo.

The U.N. panel said neither side in Libya has “the military capability” to win the stalemated conflict.

Source: Voice of America

Qatar Visa Portal Platform for Shop Qatar Festival Opens

Major Abdullah Khalifa Al Muhannadi, director of Visa Support Services Department at the Ministry of the Interior (MOI), announced that Qatar Visa Portal platform will be open from Sunday to receive visa requests from all countries around the world to participate in Shop Qatar Festival in its fourth edition from January 7-31, 2020. This comes within the framework of MOI facilitating the process of submitting requests to visitors wishing to come to the State of Qatar.

He pointed out that the Qatar visa platform allows obtaining and follow-up the e-visa to visit Qatar and attend the various events hosted by the country throughout the year, in order to support the tourism openness to the world and attract more visitors, and provide a distinctive tourism experience for them.

Al Muhannadi said that this platform is added to the list of e-entrepreneurship projects in the field of visa issuance, which the Ministry of the Interior is undertaking to facilitate electronic services provided to the public and to contribute to promoting the movement of increased economic growth witnessed by the country, in order to achieve the Qatar National Vision 2030.

Source: Government of Qatar

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed receives French President’s phone call.

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, today, received a phone call from President of France, Emmanuel Macron.

During the telephone call, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed and President Macron discussed ways to strengthen the strong friendship between the UAE and France to serve the interests of the two friendly countries and their peoples.

The two leaders exchanged views on the latest regional and global developments of mutual interest, while stressing the importance of joint coordination and consultation and intensifying international efforts to enhance security and stability in the region.

Source: UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Holds Telephone Call with U.S. Secretary of State

HE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani held Sunday via telephone a conversation with HE United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

During the phone call, they reviewed the recent regional developments, especially the latest developments in Iraq, and ways to solve controversial issues in the region.

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

H.E. Andriy Kuzmenko is appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine to the State of Qatar.

According to the Decree of the President of Ukraine ?914/2019 H.E. Andriy Kuzmenko has been appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine to the State of Qatar.

Source: Embassy of Ukraine Qatar