Saturday

28th Nov 2020

EU keen to build post-Gaddafi Libya

  • Cameron (l) and Sarkozy: the two men led calls for the special summit and spelled out their ideas in a joint letter on Thursday (Photo: The Prime Minister's Office)

EU leaders will in a joint declaration on Friday (11 March) tell Gaddafi that he must step down and pledge to help build a new post-war Libya.

The latest draft of the declaration, seen by EUobserver, voices solidarity with victims of violence and says: "Colonel Gaddafi must relinquish power immediately." It adds: "The EU stands ready to engage with the Libyan authorities in order to help Libya build a constitutional state and develop the rule of law."

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

UK Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy in a joint letter to European Council head Herman Van Rompuy on Thursday added that Colonel Gaddafi should end up in a jail cell in the Hague.

"These acts may amount to crimes against humanity ... We support the investigation announced by the International Criminal Court Prosecutor, and the message this sends that the regime will be held to account for its actions," they said.

The letter is softer than separate French statements on Thursday on how to handle anti-Gaddafi rebels and on military intervention.

"We should send the clear political signal that we consider the [rebel] Council to be valid political interlocutors," it notes. "We support continued planning to be ready to provide support for all possible contingencies as the situation evolves on the basis of demonstrable need, a clear legal basis and firm regional support."

The Elysee on Thursday upset EU allies by unilaterally recognising the rebel council as the legitimate government of Libya and by saying Nato jets should hit three Gaddafi military targets.

The Elysee statements were made by spokesmen rather than by President Sarkozy himself, however. The controversy means Mr Sarkozy is likely to take centre stage at the Friday summit, but the ambiguity leaves room for him to row back on the unpopular ideas.

Friday's summit will also look at a recent European Commission proposal on how to overhaul EU policy on north Africa. But the Franco-British letter says: "Today's priority is to cope with the political and security situation."

Southern EU states will meanwhile seek assurances the bloc will help them deal with the flow of migrants generated by the upheaval.

Italy in a diplomatic note handed round at a foreign ministers' meeting in Brussels on Thursday suggested that an EU and Nato naval blockade of Libyan ports could "be useful also for monitoring [the movement of] human beings across the Mediterranean Sea."

New sanctions out

In other developments, the EU on Friday morning published a list of top-up financial sanctions on Libya.

The move adds the multi-billion Libyan Investment Authority, the Central Bank of Libya, the Libya Africa Investment Portfolio, the Libyan Foreign Bank, the Libyan Housing and Infrastructure Board and one Mustafa Zarti, an Austrian citizen in charge of handling Gaddafi money, to a previous list of 26 people under an asset freeze.

Fabrice Marchisio, a lawyer who specialises in asset tracing for the Paris-based firm Cotty Vivant Marchisio & Lauzeral, warned EUobserver that press should not take at face value government pledges to freeze money.

"The legal texts which these decisions are based on have incredibly wide parameters. The international community imposed an asset freeze on Ferdinand Marcos [a former dictator in the Philippines], but more than 20 years later we have recovered about four percent of his money. And he had a lot less money than Gaddafi," Mr Marchisio said.

With news breaking on Friday about a tsunami in northeast Japan, an EU diplomat noted: "EU leaders will have the chance to voice concern for victims and to offer assistance if needed."

He added that the disaster will not be a high priority, however: "Japan is not an EU member yet."

EU red-flags Israel's Givat Hamatos settlement

New Israeli settlements around Jerusalem could do more harm to Middle East peace than Israel's recent deals with Arab states did good, EU foreign relations chief Josep Borrell has indicated.

Analysis

There is 'no Russia-Turkey alliance'

Talk of a grand Turkey-Russia realignment is premature, Nato and Russia experts say - despite Putin and Erdoğan's friendly ties.

Exclusive

New EU sanctions to hit Belarusian oligarchs

Regime-linked Belarusian tycoons are to face new sanctions, while EU-Belarus relations are being cut to a minimum, according to an internal EU paper, seen by EUobserver.

News in Brief

  1. Brexit talks pick up pace once more
  2. MEPs back US trade detente
  3. Iran diplomat to stand trial in Belgium over 'France bomb plot'
  4. Trump says he'll leave if Biden wins Electoral College vote
  5. EU Parliament: Polish abortion ban risks womens' lives
  6. UN experts warn against racial profiling
  7. EU auditors raise red flag over maritime protection
  8. Four students charged in France's beheading case

Opinion

The under-reported power struggle at the top of the OSCE

An internal power struggle has undermined the world's leading international security body since the summer. The OSCE is due to finally get new leaders in December but the unprecedented power vacuum has hit at a crunch time for hotspots worldwide.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic climate debate on 17 November!
  2. UNESDAMaking healthier diets the easy choice
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersUN Secretary General to meet with Nordic Council on COVID-19
  4. UNESDAWell-designed Deposit Return Schemes can help reach Single-Use Plastics Directive targets
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council meets Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaja
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to invest DKK 250 million in green digitalised business sector

Latest News

  1. Erdoğan jails hundreds for life, as EU weighs relations
  2. Italian energy giant director advising EU foreign policy chief
  3. Poland and Hungary say rule-of-law link needs treaty change
  4. Portuguese presidency to focus on social rights and India
  5. The under-reported power struggle at the top of the OSCE
  6. Poland hammered on women's rights in EU debate
  7. EU 'front-line' states want clearer migration rules
  8. Von der Leyen tells Poland and Hungary to go to court

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us