Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has said his country’s position on the situation in Libya is to reject military action and to keep a distance from all the parties involved in the crisis.
In a press interview, Tebboune said Algeria has always considered the Libyan capital, Tripoli, a red line, and that its fall into the hands of renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar’s forces would have resulted in an all-out civil war, leading to the collapse of the state.
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He expressed Algeria’s readiness to sponsor a peace agreement in Libya as it did in Mali, noting that Libyan tribes accept Algerian mediation.
“The solution in Libya is seen in our contribution with Egypt and Tunisia in order to reach an agreement on the crisis,” Tebboune said.
UN horror at mass graves discovery
Meanwhile, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for a thorough and transparent investigation after mass graves were found in Tarhuna, which was recently recaptured by Libya’s internationally recognised government from Haftar’s forces.
Guterres said he was “deeply shocked” by the discovery of multiple mass graves in recent days, in a statement from his spokesman late on Friday.
“Yesterday, the UN Mission in Libya expressed horror at the reports of at least eight mass graves in past days, the majority of them in Tarhuna,” said Stephane Dujarric, the spokesman for Guterres, in a statement late on Friday.
“International law requires that the authorities conduct prompt, effective and transparent investigations into all alleged cases of unlawful deaths, the Mission said,” he added.
Guterres called for Libyan authorities to secure the graves, identify the victims, establish causes of death and return the bodies to the next of kin, and offered UN support to do so.
He repeated calls for the fighting to end in Libya and said he hopes a ceasefire will be agreed upon soon.
Philippe Nassif, Amnesty International’s director for the Middle East and North Africa, said the group was working to verify the mass killings.
“We want to be able to go in, or have the UN go in, and collect evidence of potential war crimes and other atrocities … so eventually a process takes place where justice can be served,” he said.
The UN said earlier in the week that both the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) and the rival Libyan National Army (LNA) were engaging in ceasefire talks led by the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL).
Last week, the GNA’s forces regained control of several areas bordering Tripoli, foiling a 14 months-long campaign by Haftar to seize the city.
LNA forces loyal to Haftar have lost control of a number of strategic towns in the west of the country in recent weeks. Haftar also lost Tarhuna, which lies 65km southeast of Tripoli, his last stronghold in western Libya.
Oil-wealthy Libya has been in turmoil since a 2011 revolt toppled longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi and has since become a battleground for rival proxy forces.
The GNA is allied with Turkey and Qatar, while the LNA is supported by Egypt, Russia and the United Arab Emirates.
Algeria buries remains of anti-colonial fighters after 150 years |NationalTribune.com
Algeria buried the remains of 24 resistance fighters returned from Paris after more than a century and a half as it marked the 58th anniversary of its independence from France. The skulls of the fighters – shot and decapitated in the early years of the French occupation – were laid to rest on Sunday during…
Algeria buried the remains of 24 resistance fighters returned from Paris after more than a century and a half as it marked the 58th anniversary of its independence from France.
The skulls of the fighters – shot and decapitated in the early years of the French occupation – were laid to rest on Sunday during an emotional ceremony at El Alia cemetery.
Coffins draped with the national flag were lowered into freshly dug graves in the Martyr’s Square of Algeria’s largest burial ground, alongside national heroes such as top revolt leader Emir Abdelkader.
An elite unit of the Republican Guard presented arms while a funeral march played in the background, an AFP news agency correspondent reported.
The skulls, once viewed as war trophies by French colonial officers, were flown into Algiers international airport on Friday and then moved to the Palace of Culture where they were placed on display.
The return of the skulls was the result of years of efforts by Algerian historians, and comes amid a growing global reckoning with the legacy of colonialism.
President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, who took part in the ceremony, on Saturday said it was time to turn a page on years of frosty relations with France, calling on Paris to apologise for its colonial past.
“We have already had half-apologies. The next step is needed … we await it,” he told news channel France 24 in an interview.
The return of the skulls was the result of years of efforts by Algerian historians [Anadolu]
An apology was necessary to “face the problem of memory that jeopardises many things in the relations between the two countries”, Tebboune said.
It would “make it possible to cool tensions and create a calmer atmosphere for economic and cultural relations”, especially for the more than six million Algerians who live in France, he added.
Despite stifling heat, a long queue formed outside the palace and some men and women, waiting to pay their respects, wept, according to footage broadcast by several television stations.
“I came as a fighter, as an invalid from the war of liberation, as a citizen who loves his country,” said Ali Zemlat.
The 85-year-old fought in the brutal 1954-1962 war that ended France’s 132 years of colonial rule in Algeria.
The 24 fought French colonial forces who occupied Algeria in 1830 and took part in an 1849 revolt. After they were decapitated, their skulls were taken to France as trophies.
President Macron agreed in 2018 to return the remains but the process was delayed over bureaucratic hurdles [Anadolu]
In 2011, Algerian historian and researcher Ali Farid Belkadi discovered the skulls at the Museum of Man in Paris, across from the Eiffel Tower, and alerted Algerian authorities.
The researcher lobbied for years for their return and Algeria’s then-President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, eventually launched the formal repatriation request.
French President Emmanuel Macron agreed to the repatriation in 2018 but bureaucratic obstacles resulted in the delay of their return.
“We have recovered part of our memory,” historian Mohamed el-Korso told The Associated Press news agency. “But the fight must continue until the recovery of all the remains of the resistance fighters, which number in the hundreds, and the archives of our revolution.”
Algeria seeks apology from France over colonial past: President |NationalTribune.com
President Tebboune believes that with President Macron, the two countries can go further in the appeasement process [File: AFP] Algeria is waiting for an apology for France’s colonial occupation of the North African country, the president said, expressing hope that French President Emmanuel Macron would build on recent conciliatory overtures. A global re-examination of the…
President Tebboune believes that with President Macron, the two countries can go further in the appeasement process [File: AFP]
Algeria is waiting for an apology for France’s colonial occupation of the North African country, the president said, expressing hope that French President Emmanuel Macron would build on recent conciliatory overtures.
A global re-examination of the legacy of colonialism has been unleashed by the May killing of unarmed African American George Floyd by a white police officer, which sparked mass protests around the world.
“We have already had half-apologies. The next step is needed… we await it,” President Abdelmadjid Tebboune said on Saturday in an interview with news channel France 24.
“I believe that with President Macron, we can go further in the appeasement process … he is a very honest man, who wants to improve the situation.”
France’s 132 years of colonial rule in Algeria and the brutal eight-year war that ended it, have left a legacy of often prickly relations between the two countries.
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In what has been seen as a thaw in ties, Algeria on Friday received the skulls of 24 resistance fighters decapitated during the colonial period.
The skulls will be laid to rest in the martyrs’ section of the capital’s El Alia cemetery on Sunday – the 58th anniversary of Algeria’s independence – according to media reports.
Tebboune said an apology from France would “make it possible to cool tensions and create a calmer atmosphere for economic and cultural relations,” especially for the more than six million Algerians living in France.
In December 2019, Macron said “colonialism was a grave mistake” and called for turning the page on the past.
During his presidential election campaign, he had created a storm by calling France’s colonisation of Algeria a “crime against humanity”.
United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet has urged countries to make amends for “centuries of violence and discrimination”.
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