World In Berlin, a new push for lasting peace in Libya
Colombia’s protests are a product of its post-peace-deal reality
“The peace process has opened up a space for other concerns and for other political debates.”Cali is the epicenter of the unrest that has convulsed Colombia for more than a month. A tax reform bill proposed by right-wing President Ivan Duque sparked protests in late April, with thousands responding to a call from national labor unions to push against the measure.
Germany will seek to broker lasting peace in Libya on Wednesday, gathering world powers in Berlin to extract a firm promise to withdraw foreign fighters and keep the North African country on track for its December 24 election.
The efforts to end a decade-long spiral of violence in Libya would bring the country's transitional government, as well as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, to Berlin for the in-person UN-sponsored talks.
In a phone call with Libyan interim Foreign Minister Najla Mangoush just days ahead of the meeting, Blinken "stressed the United States' commitment to increasing diplomatic engagement to promote international efforts supporting progress in Libya."
Infamous human smuggler sentenced to 18 years in Ethiopian prison
Eritrean Tewelde Goitom, known as Welid, was in late April found guilty of five charges of trafficking individuals. Shishay Godefay Demoz, an accomplice who assisted Goitom in Libya and went on trial with him, was sentenced to 16 years and six months in prison, and ordered to pay 50,000 birrs ($1,152). He was also found guilty in late April of two trafficking charges. Lawyers for both defendants have said they will appeal against the verdict. Such a move needs to take place within 60 days of sentencing.
Like host German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, Blinken and Mangoush harked back to last year's meeting and the pledges made but which have not been fully implemented.
The presidents of Russia, Turkey and France had then vowed to end foreign meddling in Libya and withdraw foreign militants or troops.
Since those talks, a formal truce was agreed last October that led to the creation of a transitional government under Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah and a presidential council headed by Mohammad Younes Menfi which have promised to hold polls.
However, the UN has warned that progress has stalled, notably on a key requisite of the polls -- the pullout of all foreign soldiers.
Women migrants reduced to sex slaves in Libya 'hell'
For Aisha, sexual slavery was something you only heard about happening to others in television reports, until she found herself locked in a living "hell" in Libya. As soon as I arrived, I was locked up, I was a slave. She brought men to me and she got the money."Locked in a room with a toilet, she only saw the "friend" who had duped her when she was brought in food, "like a dog"."The men came drunk. I'd rather not remember it," said Aisha, still trembling. "I thought my life was over.
- 'Good chance' for elections -
The oil-rich country descended into chaos after dictator Moamer Kadhafi was toppled and killed in a 2011 NATO-backed uprising, resulting in multiple forces vying for power.
In recent years Libya has been split between two rival administrations backed by foreign forces and countless militias.
In October, after Turkey-backed forces of the Government of National Accord (GNA) based in Tripoli routed those of eastern military strongman Khalifa Haftar, the two camps agreed a ceasefire in Geneva.
The security situation in Libya has been slowly improving since.
But the presence of an estimated 20,000 foreign fighters and mercenaries on Libya's territory is seen as a threat to the UN-backed transition leading to the elections.
Western leaders have repeatedly called on the foreign fighters to depart.
But Russian mercenaries supporting Haftar's side in the east of the country are still in place.
Minors accuse guards at Libya detention centre of sexual assault
A group of migrant girls lodged at EU-funded government detention centre accuse guards of sexually assaulting them.A 17-year-old Somali girl, whose identity has been kept anonymous, told AP that she was raped by a guard at the Shara al-Zawiya centre in the capital, Tripoli, in April. More girls from the centre have come out with similar allegations, with some sharing their ordeal with AP.
Turkey meanwhile has troops in Tripoli, which it argues were sent under a bilateral agreement with the government, implying that they are not affected by a request for foreign troops to leave.
Diplomats underlined the delicate balancing act needed to ensure that neither side feels it is losing out by withdrawing.
Jalel Harchaoui, Global Initiative senior fellow and an expert on Libya, said Wednesday's talks must go beyond a simple declaration of intent if they are to make a real impact.
"Is there a mechanism for (the fighters) to leave? Are Libyans pushing for them to leave in real life on the ground? No," he said.
But he voiced hope that the talks would bring tangible help on the upcoming elections.
"Somebody could come up with a good idea of agreeing on a constitutional basis in July and be on course for elections in December," he said, referring to a key requisite for the polls.
"I think there's a good chance (for elections by year's end) and the Berlin process could help."
Tunisia rescues 267 migrants stranded at sea .
Tunisia authorities on Thursday rescued 267 migrants, most of them Bangladeshis, who tried to sail from neighbouring Libya to Europe across the Mediterranean, the International Organization for Migration said. Tunisia's coastguard said the migrants, who also included three Egyptians, had been stranded at sea after their boat broke down. The navy helped bring the migrants to shore at the Ben Guerdane port in southern Tunisia, near the border with Libya, and they were handed over to the IOM and the Red Crescent, the coastguard said.The migrants were placed in quarantine at a hotel on the Tunisian island of Djerba, the IOM said.