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Libya’s GNA forces press ahead after failed truce offer by Egypt |NationalTribune.com

Libyan fighters allied with the country’s internationally recognised government have pressed their advance into the strategic city of Sirte, boosted by recent battlefield gains and a withdrawal by forces of renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar from around the capital, Tripoli.  The push on Monday came despite a unilateral cease-fire proposal over the weekend by Egypt,…

Libya’s GNA forces press ahead after failed truce offer by Egypt |NationalTribune.com

Libyan fighters allied with the country’s internationally recognised government have pressed their advance into the strategic city of Sirte, boosted by recent battlefield gains and a withdrawal by forces of renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar from around the capital, Tripoli. 
The push on Monday came despite a unilateral cease-fire proposal over the weekend by Egypt, a backer of the self-declared Libyan National Army (LNA) commanded by Khalifa Hifter, who has waged a year-long campaign trying to capture the capital.
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Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha of the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) said the government side would engage in political talks only after taking Sirte and also the inland Jufra airbase, to the south.
GNA Prime Minister Fayez Al-Sarraj urged his troops to “continue their path” towards Sirte, according to a statement posted by Mohamed Gnunu, a spokesman for the Tripoli-allied forces. Gnunu posted footage of allegedly captured tanks and vehicles in the outskirts of Sirte.

Haftar proposed Libya ceasefire, says Egypt’s el-Sisi

Haftar’s military media unit, however, said his forces destroyed a military company that included Turkish-made Hausers and tanks, along with a bus allegedly carrying Turkish troops and Syrian mercenaries who have been aiding the Tripoli militias.
Two Sirte residents said shelling by Tripoli militias on Monday killed at least eight civilians and wounded six others in the town of Thalatheen, 30km (18 miles) west of Sirte. The residents spoke condition of anonymity because of fear of reprisals. There was no immediate comment from the Tripoli militias.
The Libyan Red Crescent in Sirte said the dead included a family of seven people.
‘Significant gains’
A unilateral ceasefire proposal over the weekend by Egypt – a backer of the Libyan forces commanded by Haftar, who has waged a year-long campaign to capture Tripoli – was rejected by the GNA.
Backed by Turkey, the GNA’s forces gained the upper hand last week after retaking the capital’s airport, all main entrance and exit points to the city, and a string of key towns, forcing Hafter’s fighters to withdraw – defeats their command painted as a tactical measure to give the UN-backed peace process a chance.
On Monday, Haftar’s forces continued to lose ground to the GNA, which has been pushing towards Sirte.
“I’ve been speaking to [GNA] military leaders here on the ground and they’ve told me that yesterday they made significant gains,” Al Jazeera’s Malik Traina, reporting from Abu Grein, 140km (87 miles) west of Sirte, said.
“They have entered the western gates of Sirte … and are in control of this area. They have also entered Wadi al-Jarf, which is in the south of Sirte,” he said.
“From what our sources tell us, many forces loyal to Haftar have withdrawn to eastern Libya, but there is a force that remains in Sirte. And whether or not they will continue the battle we will have to find out.”

[Alia Chughtai/Al Jazeera]

The Mediterranean coastal city of Sirte is a key gateway to the country’s major oilfields in the east, still held by Haftar’s forces.
Taking Sirte would open the way for the Tripoli-allied fighters to press even farther eastward and potentially seize control of vital oil installations, terminals and oil fields that tribes allied with Haftar shut down earlier this year, cutting off Libya’s major source of income.
Moscow meeting
On Saturday, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi proposed a ceasefire starting from Monday, which was accepted by Haftar and Aguila Saleh, speaker of a rival parliament based in the eastern city of Tobruk, but turned down by the GNA.
UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash tweeted on Monday the initiative “strengthens the Arab and international momentum for an immediate ceasefire, the withdrawal of foreign troops, and the return to a political track”.

Russia hiring of Syrians to fight in Libya surges in May: Reuters

Libya’s eastern-based forces are backed by the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, as well as France and Russia. 
But recently, Saleh was quoted as saying Russia wants negotiations to resume with the Tripoli government, because it no longer sees a positive outcome to Haftar’s offensive.
Al Jazeera’s Mahmoud Abdelwahed, reporting from Tripoli, said: “This potential meeting in Moscow has not been announced yet either by Russia or Tripoli, which indicates the GNA here in Tripoli is not keen to let its local allies know it is engaging in talks again with the rival administration in the east.”
Sami Hamdi, editor-in-chief of The International Interest, a London-based risk consultancy group, said Russia is trying to push for a political settlement that includes all warring factions.
“I think Russia is trying to lessen Haftar’s power, but not entirely get rid of him,” he told Al Jazeera.
“Al-Sarraj is in an awkward position; if he seems to be excited about the talks then he will lose domestically but if he doesn’t go to these talks then he risks losing the Turkish support and the general leadership of the GNA.”
‘Reckless adventurism’
Libya has been mired in chaos since the 2011 uprising that toppled and later killed longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
Haftar – a 76-year-old former Gaddafi loyalist turned defector who spent years living in the United States – has vowed to rule all of Libya.
Tarek Megerisi, a fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, said Egypt was upset by Haftar’s “reckless adventurism”.

Libyans celebrate after gov’t retakes key city near Tripoli

“Egypt has direct security interests in Libya and having a security partner to work with in eastern Libya is of paramount importance to them, which is why they were so concerned,” he said.
However, Egypt is still “invested in propagating the Haftar project diplomatically, providing him political support and militarily supporting his war effort”, said Megerisi.
But at the same time Egypt is “looking for other options and ways to secure their interests as they become less and less certain that he [Haftar] will win”, he added.
While Egypt will likely invest further in protecting its interests in the east, it has no appetite for direct confrontation with the GNA’s main backer, Turkey, analysts say.
“Egypt’s interests in Libya and the Mediterranean sea are primarily represented in the security of their western border and economic exclusive zone sovereignty,” said Jalel Harchaoui of the Hague-based Clingendael Institute.”Turkey … will likely respect Egypt’s security and economic interests in order to avoid any form of direct confrontation.”
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COVID-19: US passes ‘unfathomable’ 200,000 death toll |NationalTribune.com

Sorry, we can’t find the page that you are looking for. Don’t let that stop you from visiting some of our other great related content.EXPLORE MOREPalestine quits Arab League role in protest over Israel dealsPalestine was meant to chair Arab League meetings for next six months, but FM Riyad al-Maliki has declined the position.At UN,…

COVID-19: US passes ‘unfathomable’ 200,000 death toll |NationalTribune.com

Sorry, we can’t find the page that you are looking for. Don’t let that stop you from visiting some of our other great related content.EXPLORE MOREPalestine quits Arab League role in protest over Israel dealsPalestine was meant to chair Arab League meetings for next six months, but FM Riyad al-Maliki has declined the position.At UN, Qatar emir questions world inaction on Israeli occupationQatar’s leader says Israel continues to carry out ‘flagrant violation of international resolutions’.Lebanon: Hezbollah arms depot blast caused by ‘technical error’Lebanon’s official news agency said explosion took place in southern village of Ein Qana, about 50km south of Beirut.
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Iran says ‘internal agents’ may be responsible for Natanz blast |NationalTribune.com

Tehran, Iran – The Iranian government said on Tuesday there are strong suspicions that “internal agents” played a role in a massive explosion that occurred at a key nuclear facility earlier this year. On July 2, a fire ripped through a building at Natanz, a major uranium enrichment site. Satellite images showed it caused the…

Iran says ‘internal agents’ may be responsible for Natanz blast |NationalTribune.com

Tehran, Iran – The Iranian government said on Tuesday there are strong suspicions that “internal agents” played a role in a massive explosion that occurred at a key nuclear facility earlier this year.
On July 2, a fire ripped through a building at Natanz, a major uranium enrichment site. Satellite images showed it caused the roof to collapse and parts of the building were blackened by the blaze.
“One of the strong theories is based on internal agents being involved in the incident,” government spokesman Ali Rabiei told reporters at a news conference, according to the Iranian Labour News Agency (ILNA).

“The issue is being seriously reviewed by the country’s security organisations and we will announce the results after things are clear.”
It is the first time an Iranian official specifically pointed to the possibility of an inside job for the blast.
In late August, Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization confirmed the damage to the facility was the result of “sabotage”.
“But how this explosion took place and with what materials … will be announced by security officials in due course,” spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said at the time, citing “security reasons” for not disclosing further information.
‘Sabotage is certain’
In early September, Kamalvandi announced Natanz saboteurs “have been identified” but refrained from discussing further details, including whether internal agents were complicit.
On Tuesday, Rabiei also reiterated that “sabotage is certain” but the incident still needs to be investigated due to its complexities.
The desert Natanz site, much of which is underground, is one of several Iranian facilities regularly monitored by inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN nuclear watchdog.
Following the explosion, international media reports indicated Israel may have been behind the attack. Israel has been deliberately vague, neither confirming nor denying involvement while stressing the danger of a nuclear-armed Iran.

“Everyone can suspect us in everything and all the time, but I don’t think that’s correct,” Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz said days after the attack.
Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi also said “Iran cannot be allowed to have nuclear capabilities”, adding to that end, “We take actions that are better left unsaid.”
IAEA-Iran relations
September’s announcement that Iran knows the saboteurs behind the Natanz explosion came one week after IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi visited the country.
The trip was successful, leading to Iran granting access to two suspected former nuclear sites that the UN watchdog wished to inspect.
“In this present context, based on analysis of available information to the IAEA, the IAEA does not have further questions to Iran and further requests for access to locations other than those declared by Iran,” the IAEA and Iranian officials said in a joint statement following the visit.
In a speech during the 64th session of the General Conference of the IAEA on Monday, the president of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization Ali Akbar Salehi referred to the Natanz incident.

“These malicious acts need to be condemned by the agency and member states,” he said via video conference, adding “Iran reserves its rights to protect its facilities and take necessary actions against any threat as appropriate.”
Salehi also urged the UN watchdog not to compromise its “impartiality, independence and professionalism”.
Iran, UN and the United States are locked in a major disagreement centred around the landmark 2015 nuclear deal signed between Iran and world powers, which US President Donald Trump unilaterally abandoned in May 2018.
The US on Sunday declared it reinstated all UN sanctions on Iran, an announcement that was roundly rejected by the United Nations Security Council as lacking legal basis.
The US is trying to indefinitely extend an arms embargo on Iran that is set to expire in October as part of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the formal name of the nuclear deal.
Iran, which has always maintained it never pursued nuclear weapons, accepted the nuclear deal that removed all UN sanctions in exchange for curbs on its nuclear programme.
The US reneged on the deal, unilaterally imposing a harsh campaign of sanctions that have hit almost all the productive sectors of the Iranian economy. US sanctions have also targeted Iranian officials and organisations.
In response, starting exactly one year after US sanctions were imposed and other parties failed to guarantee economic benefits promised Iran under the deal, Iran started gradually scaling back its nuclear commitments.

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Palestine quits Arab League role in protest over Israel deals |NationalTribune.com

Palestine was meant to chair Arab League meetings for next six months, but FM Riyad al-Maliki has declined the position.Palestine has quit its current chairmanship of Arab League meetings, the Palestinian foreign minister said on Tuesday, condemning as dishonourable any Arab agreement to establish formal ties with Israel. Palestinians see the deals that the United…

Palestine quits Arab League role in protest over Israel deals |NationalTribune.com

Palestine was meant to chair Arab League meetings for next six months, but FM Riyad al-Maliki has declined the position.Palestine has quit its current chairmanship of Arab League meetings, the Palestinian foreign minister said on Tuesday, condemning as dishonourable any Arab agreement to establish formal ties with Israel.
Palestinians see the deals that the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed with Israel in Washington a week ago as a betrayal of their cause and a blow to their quest for an independent state in Israeli-occupied territory.
Earlier this month, the Palestinians failed to persuade the Arab League to condemn nations breaking ranks and normalising relations with Israel.
Palestine was supposed to chair Arab League meetings for the next six months, but Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki told a news conference in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah that it no longer wanted the position.
“Palestine has decided to concede its right to chair the League’s council [of foreign ministers] at its current session. There is no honour in seeing Arabs rush towards normalisation during its presidency,” Maliki said.
In his remarks, he did not specifically name the UAE and Bahrain, Gulf Arab countries that share with Israel concern over Iran. He said Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit had been informed of the Palestinian decision.

Palestinians rally against Bahrain-Israel normalisation

The Palestinian leadership wants an independent state based on the de facto borders before the 1967 war, in which Israel occupied the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and annexed East Jerusalem.
Arab countries have long called for Israel’s withdrawal from illegally occupied land, a just solution for Palestinian refugees and a settlement that leads to the establishment of a viable, independent Palestinian state, in exchange for establishing ties with it.
In a new move addressing internal Palestinian divisions, officials from West Bank-based President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction and the Gaza-based Hamas movement were due to hold reconciliation talks in Turkey on Tuesday.
Hamas seized the Gaza Strip in 2007 from Fatah forces during a brief round of fighting. Differences over power-sharing have delayed implementation of unity deals agreed since then.
Source : Al Jazeera, News Agencies
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