Algeria offers to host reconciliation forum on Libya: African Union

AFP , Thursday 30 Jan 2020

Algeria on Thursday offered to host a reconciliation forum on Libya during a meeting of African leaders discussing ways to end the long drawn-out conflict, the African Union said.

The talks were attended by Moussa Faki Mahamat, chairman of the African Union (AU) Commission, and Ghassan Salame, the UN secretary-general's special representative, along with several African presidents.

An AU statement said it "has taken note of the Algerian offer to host a forum of national reconciliation" and underscored the pressing need for "an inclusive dialogue uniting all the Libyan parties... to find a Libyan solution to the crisis."

The African leaders had been due to meet behind closed doors with the head of Tripoli's government Fayez al-Sarraj, and separately with envoys from commander Khalifa Haftar, who controls eastern Libya.

The African leaders included the presidents of Congo-Brazzaville, which hosted Thursday's talks, as well as of Mauritania and Djibouti. There was no official confirmation if the meetings had taken place.

Salame on Thursday accused foreign actors of meddling in Libya in violation of commitments made at an international summit in Berlin this month.

"These manoeuvres to resupply the two parties threaten to precipitate a new and much more dangerous conflagration," he told the UN Security Council in New York.

"They violate the spirit and the letter of the Berlin Conference," Salame said.

"I urge the parties and their foreign sponsors to desist from reckless actions and instead renew their expressed commitment to work towards a ceasefire," he added.

Leaders of the 55-nation AU are to meet in Addis Ababa on February 9 and 10.

Libya has been mired in chaos since a 2011 NATO-backed uprising that killed longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi.

Turkey is planning a military deployment to Libya to shore up the al-Sarraj's government while Haftar is backed by Egypt, Russia and the United Arab Emirates.

The crisis has deeply worried countries to the south of Libya, which are already battling a bloody jihadist insurgency.

"Africa's worry is that there's a risk that all these weapons (from Libya) will transit through the Sahel," Senegalese President Macky Sall said on Tuesday.

France's Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier this week spotted a Turkish frigate escorting a cargo ship delivering armoured vehicles to the Libyan capital Tripoli in defiance of a UN embargo, a French military source said Thursday.

The cargo ship Bana docked in Tripoli port on Wednesday, said the source, who asked not to be named.

According to the Marine Traffic specialist website, the vessel was recorded Thursday off the coast of Sicily.

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