First Published: 2017-08-17

Libya seeks to ‘organise’ NGOs carrying migrant rescue Ops
Libyan navy says its marine rescue zone aims to organise NGOs rather than preventing them from carrying out migrant rescue operations off its coast.
Middle East Online

The Libyan authorities have requested aid from Italy to help secure its maritime borders

TRIPOLI - Libya is not "preventing" NGOs from carrying out migrant rescue operations off its coast, but has set up a coastal search and rescue zone to "organise" their work, its navy said Wednesday.

The navy last week ordered unauthorised foreign vessels to stay out of Libya's coastal zone, a measure it said targeted NGOs carrying out search and rescue missions for migrants headed towards Europe.

Several NGOs including Doctors without Borders (MSF), Germany's Sea-Eye and Britain's Save the Children have since suspended their operations.

Tripoli has long accused the NGOs of collaboration with people traffickers.

"We did not announce any prohibited zone, nor did we prevent any party or organisation from carrying out clear, transparent rescue operations," the navy said in a statement.

"What we announced was aimed at organising the work, which has become chaotic and arbitrary."

Six years since a revolution that toppled longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi, Libya has become a departure point for masses of migrants risking their lives to cross the Mediterranean to Europe, mostly heading for Italy.

The Libyan navy called the situation "chaotic, especially close to Libyan waters".

It said the NGOs' decision to suspend operations was "regretable" but denied it was responsible, blasting the NGOs' "aggressive discourse" that was "smearing" Libya.

It added that its move to create a coastal search and rescue zone was "a legitimate right of the Libyan state, guaranteed by international laws".

It called for "coordination with the Libyan authorities" to help save lives "without infringing on Libyan sovereignty".

Italian Interior Minister Marco Minniti said this week that the zone would likely be authorised by the International Maritime Organization.

But he added that the coastguard of chaos-torn Libya does not have the resources to patrol such an area.

The Libyan authorities have requested aid from Italy to help secure its maritime borders.

 

UN Security Council lenient to Turkey’s Syria offensive

Washington probes Hezbollah ‘narcoterrorism’

Morocco's king appoints five new ministers

Russia pension funds may invest in Aramco IPO

Iranian woman skydiver looks to break down stereotypes

Qatar supports Turkey’s offensive against Kurds

World powers meet on Syria chemical attacks

Turkey arrests dozens accused of ‘terror propaganda’

Pence pledges US embassy move by end of 2019 on Jerusalem trip

Russia calls for diplomatic solution to Yemen conflict

Russia invites Kurds to join Syria peace process

Turkey shells Kurdish targets in northern Syria

Closer look at pro-Ankara rebels amassing around Afrin

Pence set for Palestinian snub

Abbas to ask EU to recognise Palestinian state

Saudi-led coalition to give $1.5 bln in Yemen aid

Mattis: Turkey gave US advance warning on Syria operation

Yemen releases budget for first time in three years

Saudi calls for cooperation between OPEC, non-OPEC countries

France presses Turkey to end offensive against Kurds

The changing faces of al-Qaeda in Syria

Kurdish militia fire rockets at Turkish town

Moroccans wary depreciation of dirham could raise cost of living, despite benefits

Deserted streets, terrified civilians after Turkey attacks Afrin

Iraqi, Kurdish leaders hold talks on bitter regional dispute

Russia-led Syria peace congress to be held January 30

Turkey launches new strikes on Kurdish targets in Syria

Egypt's Sisi says will stand for re-election

Pence heads to Mideast despite Muslim, Christian anger

Assad regime says Syria a 'tourist' destination

Journalists arrested while reporting Sudan protests

Aid for millions of Palestinians hostage to politics

Lebanon thwarts holiday attacks using IS informant

Mortar fire wounds 14 in Syria mental hospital

Turkish military fires on Kurdish forces in Syria's Afrin

More than 32,000 Yemenis displaced in intensified fighting

UN warns of "lost generation" in South Sudan's grinding conflict

Saudi's refined oil exports offset crude curbs

US to overtake Saudi as world’s second crude oil producer

Turkey's EU minister rejects any option other than full membership

Sudan clamps down on journalists covering bread protests

Tribal feuds spread fear in Iraq's Basra

Turkey says not reassured by US comments on border force

UN chief wants to revive Syria gas attack probe

US has no intention to build border force in Syria