«Editor Ruchita Beri Associate Editor Princy George Editorial Team Babjee Pothuraju Keerthi S Kumar Saurabh Mishra Africa Trends Volume 1, Number 2, ...»
An Israeli official in Jerusalem said the Sinai operation had been coordinated with Israel. It came after a Katyusha rocket was fired from Sinai into Israel, exploding in Eilat.14 Egypt has strongly criticised the UK for “not helping enough” with the recovery of Egyptian assets frozen since 2011. Head of Illicit Gains Department in the Egyptian Ministry of Justice, Assem Algouhary, accused the UK Treasury of violating the United Nations Convention against “Egypt: Govt Ready to Establish ‘Golden Triangle’ With Sudan, Libya”, AllAfrica, March 12, 2012, at http:// allafrica.com/stories/201203120886.html “Egyptian-Turkish meeting to boost investments”, The Egyptian Gazette, March 28, 2012, at http://220.127.116.11/ ~egyptian/index.php?action=news&id=23598&title=EgyptianTurkish%20meeting%20to%20boost%20investments “High-level Israeli-Egyptian talks held in Cairo”, Haaretz, March 29, 2012, at http://www.haaretz.com/news/ diplomacy-defense/high-level-israeli-egyptian-talks-held-in-cairo-1.421388 “U.S. grants Egypt $1.3 billion — poll says Egyptians don’t want it”, Los Angeles Times, March 29, 2012, at http:// latimesblogs.latimes.com/world_now/2012/03/egyptians-oppose-us-aid-poll.html “Egypt launches operation to gain control of Sinai”, The Jerusalem Post, April 8, 2012, at http://www.jpost.com/ MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=265183
Corruption and a European Union regulation about freezing the assets. However, the UK Treasury’s Asset Freezing Unit denied the Egyptian claims that it was not cooperating.15 Meeting Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Mohammed Kamel Amr said that Egypt is hoping to mediate in the crisis between Sudan and South Sudan, in the heat of the most serious border clashes since the South’s independence. Bashir welcomed Egypt’s role but he clarified that Sudan would refuse to negotiate with the South unless it withdraws from the Heglig oil region.16 LIBYA Libya announces US$ 100 million aid to Syrian opposition; Arrested British journalists accused of spying; Libya denies Russian allegations of arming and training Syrian rebels;
Ban Ki-moon expresses concern over rights abuses in Libya; Scores killed in tribal clashes in Sabha; UN Mission voices concern over violence in north-western towns; Libya rules out ICC trial for Saif al-Islam In a further sign of its strong support for forces fighting President Bashar al-Assad, Libya announced that it would donate US$ 100 million in humanitarian aid to the Syrian opposition and allow them to open an office in Tripoli. Separately, representatives from the Syrian National Council (SNC) visited Tripoli after Mustafa Abdel, chairman of Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC), made the initial offer to host an SNC office.17 Two British journalists working for Iran’s Press TV, Nicholas Davies and Gareth MontgomeryJohnson, who were detained in February 2012 in Libya, are suspected of being spies. Faraj alSwehli, commander of the Swehli Brigade, said his men found official Libyan documents, equipment used by the Israeli military and footage of them firing weapons, among the journalists’ possessions. However, he said it was too early to say what country they were spying for but that this would be established by an investigation.18 After meeting US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington, Libya’s Prime Minister Abdurrahim El-Keib denied Russian accusations that his country was running camps to train and arm Syrian rebels, but expressed strong support for Syrians “who are raising their voice asking for freedom.” Libya had been the first to recognise Syria’s National Opposition Council.
The US later said El-Keib’s comments had firmly denied the existence of any such training camps.19 The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said that Libyan authorities should address human rights violations after a UN report found that both sides committed war crimes during the conflict “Egypt sues UK over frozen assets”, BBC News, April 15, 2012, at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17717988 “Egypt hopes to mediate Sudan-South crisis”, AFP, April 15, 2012, at http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/ article/ALeqM5g40spgNLFgM_4kvDReusGaWumR3w?docId=CNG.eff51d7e811b9e0af02def6520354c8e.a51 “Libya to give Syrian opposition $100m in aid”, IOL News, March 1, 2012, at http://www.iol.co.za/news/africa/ libya-to-give-syrian-opposition-100m-in-aid-1.1246656 “Two British journalists accused of spying in Libya”, Reuters, March 4, 2012, at http://www.reuters.com/article/ 2012/03/04/us-libya-journalists-idUSTRE8230P320120304 “Libya PM “not aware” of arming, training Syria rebels”, Reuters, March 8, 2012, at http://in.reuters.com/article/ 2012/03/08/libya-syria-idINDEE8270DK20120308 Africa Trends Volume 1, Number 2, March-April 2012 and that killing, torture and pillage were ongoing. He also noted that UN Human Rights Council investigators found that the NATO “did not deliberately target civilians” in Libyan air strikes.
Further, Russia had criticised the investigators for failing to adequately probe deaths caused by NATO bombs.20 Libya’s health minister Fatma al-Hamroush announced that six days of tribal clashes in a remote desert town in southern Libya have killed 147 people. The fighting in Sabha has also left 395 wounded. Around 180 people have been transported to the capital Tripoli for emergency treatment.
The rivalry burst into open conflict after a Tabu tribe member shot a member of the Arab Abu Seif tribe, and then a delegation of Tabu elders and armed men going to participate in reconciliation talks was ambushed. In response, the Libyan government was trying to move relief supplies to the area with the assistance of the UN team in Libya.21 The UN mission in Libya expressed concern over the intensification of violence in three towns in the country’s north-west and deplored reports of a growing number of casualties. The mission urged parties involved in the fighting around the towns of Zuwara, al-Jumail and Regdalin to immediately cease hostilities while talks continue, and welcomed efforts by authorities and local leaders to broker a ceasefire and restore calm.22 Justice Minister Ali Ashour confirmed that Libya would not send Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the most prominent son of the country’s former leader, to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. Instead, Saif al-Islam will be put on trial in Libya by Libyan judges on charges of financial corruption, murder and rape. Earlier, an ICC defence lawyer alleged that Saif al-Islam was being mistreated and beaten, but Ashour denied the allegations. Separately, pressure is mounting on Libya to hand Gaddafi’s son to the ICC, as human rights organisations say the country will be unable to give him a fair trial.23
MOROCCOMorocco and Spain accelerate security partnership; Economic and social situation in Morocco discussed; Ranbaxy opens new production facility in Morocco; US and France support Morocco’s plan for Western Sahara dispute; US soldiers observe training at Moroccan Field Artillery Center; Morocco and US participate in African Lion 12 Exercise Morocco and Spain have agreed to strengthen the relationship between their security services as both countries face terrorism, organised crime, smuggling and illegal immigration. During a visit by Spain’s Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz to Rabat, the ministers agreed that two joint police centres, one in Tangier and the other in Algeciras, would be set up to boost cooperation.
“Ban Ki-moon says Libya should end rights abuses”, Reuters, March 13, 2012, at http://www.reuters.com/article/ 2012/03/13/us-libya-un-idUSBRE82C1BK20120313 “Libya: 147 killed in 6 days of clashes in south”, Haaretz, March 31, 2012, at http://www.haaretz.com/news/ middle-east/libya-147-killed-in-6-days-of-clashes-in-south-1.421834 “Libya: UN mission voices concern over violence in north-western towns”, UN News Centre, April 4, 2012, at http:/ /www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=41710&Cr=libya&Cr1 “Libya rules out ICC trial for Saif al-Islam”, Al Jazeera, April 9, 2012, at http://www.aljazeera.com/news/africa/ 2012/04/2012499216767703.html
The countries will also hold a summit in Morocco to coordinate efforts against terrorism in the Sahel-Saharan region.24 The EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle received a delegation of the Economic and Social Council of Morocco (CES) in Brussels, discussing with its president, Chakib Benmoussa, the current economic and social situation in Morocco and the reforms launched in the wake of the Arab Spring. Füle also noted that the positive vote of the European Parliament on the EU-Morocco Agricultural Agreement was an important step which paved the way for further dynamics in bilateral relations. They also noted the scope for common work on issues such as improving working conditions for agricultural workers, reducing child labour or providing adequate social security coverage.25 Ranbaxy Laboratories has opened a new production facility at Casablanca in Morocco, a move which would help the drug maker access the African nation’s US$ 1 billion pharma market. This would pave the way for a direct business presence for Ranbaxy in North Africa. The facility has undergone successful audit of the plant by Moroccan Health Authorities.26 Echoing a statement by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe called Morocco’s autonomy initiative for Western Sahara “the only realistic proposal” for resolving the decades-old conflict over the territory. Clinton and Juppe both praised Morocco’s role in advancing human rights and democratic reforms in the region. The statements came on the eve of a ninth round of informal talks on Western Sahara, hosted by the United Nations in Manhasset, New York. The informal talks aim to resume formal negotiations between Morocco and the Polisario Front with the participation of Algeria and Mauritania, to end the conflict.27 In order to help improve the security of Morocco, 20 members of the 15th Royal Artillery Group purchased approximately 60 armoured vehicles called M109A5 howitzers through the US Foreign Military Sales programme. At the request of the Royal Moroccan Field Artillery Training Center, an artillery tactics military-to-military exercise was executed in the cities of Fes and Guercie on March 4-10, 2012 to train Moroccan soldiers in the maintenance, safety and firing of the M109A5 system.28 The United States Marine Corps has deployed its “Few and Proud” to Morocco to take part in African Lion 2012, a joint and combined annual iteration sponsored by the Chairman of the Joint “Morocco, Spain accelerate security partnership”, Magharebia, March 1, 2012, at http://www.magharebia.com/ cocoon/awi/xhtml1/en_GB/features/awi/features/2012/03/01/feature-01 “Morocco: Moving forward to more dynamic relations”, ENPI Info Centre, March 7, 2012, at http://www.enpiinfo.eu/medportal/news/latest/28223/Morocco:-Moving-forward-to-more-dynamic-relations “Ranbaxy opens new manufacturing facility in Morocco; eyes $1 bn drug market”, The Economic Times, March 12, 2012, at http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2012-03-12/news/31153094_1_daiichi-sankyo-groupranbaxy-laboratories-pharma-market “U.S., France Voice Strong Support for Morocco’s Autonomy Plan to Resolve Western Sahara Dispute, Remove Obstacle to Peace in Region”, PR Newswire, March 12, 2012, at http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/usfrance-voice-strong-support-for-moroccos-autonomy-plan-to-resolve-western-sahara-dispute-remove-obstacle-topeace-in-region-142316285.html “Morocco: U.S. Soldiers Observe Training At Moroccan Field Artillery Center”, AllAfrica, March 26, 2012, at http:/ /allafrica.com/stories/201203261773.html Africa Trends Volume 1, Number 2, March-April 2012 Chief of Staff (CJCS), scheduled by the US Africa Command (AFRICOM), executed by Marine Force Africa (MARFORAF), and hosted by Morocco’s Royal Armed Forces (RAF). The exercise will serve to promote military cooperation, reinforce interoperability, and consolidate the two nations’ counter-terrorism strategy and merge their vision of regional stability.29