Two Italian fishing boats were seized yesterday by Libyan patrol boats in the Gulf of Sirte and are being held in the port of Misurata. The boats are the second and third Italian fishing boats to be seized over the past two weeks. The seizures indicate the interim Libyan government is maintaining the Ghaddafi government’s territorial claims to the Gulf of Sirte (and that Libya has some functioning patrol boats). The territorial claims have resulted in numerous incidents and seizures of non-Libyan fishing boats over the years, including the incident in September 2010 when a Libyan patrol boat with an Italian official observer on board fired on an Italian fishing boat. The waters near Libya are a major spawning ground for the endangered bluefin tuna and fishing vessels from EU countries have apparently taken advantage of the situation in Libya this year to engage in extensive illegal fishing activities.
Click here and here for articles. (IT)
Click here for article regarding illegal fishing. (EN)
This cable provides the views of the US Embassy in Tripoli as of July 2009 regarding the EU-Libya Framework Agreement negotiations. A round of EU-Libya negotiations took place on 13-14 July 2009. The cable was written by the US Embassy’s Chargé d’Affaires at the time, Joan Polaschik, and is titled: “EU FRAMEWORK AGREEMENT HANGS ON ICC, TRADE, MIGRATION.”
According to the cable, Libyan negotiator Mohammed Siala “railed against language stating that the [EU and Libya] agreed to discuss crimes against humanity in an international context, angrily stating that any mention of the International Criminal Court (ICC) or text similar to that of the Rome Statute would cause a total breakdown of the framework negotiations.” Negotiations on migration issues however went more smoothly according to the cable: “the chief EC negotiator told EU diplomats that the negotiations [on migration] were a ‘step forward’ and that more progress was made than expected with no major objections from either side on the draft as presented….”
Excerpts from the cable:
“1.(C/NF) Summary: The latest round of EU-Libya Framework Agreement negotiations hit snags over sensitive political issues and were slowed by Libya’s inefficient technical bureaucracy. The Libyans denounced the International Criminal Court and decreed that any language similar to the Rome Statute was off limits. Trade talks stalled when the Libyans announced that they had not examined the draft paper (presented in early 2009) and were unable to produce trade statistics from 2007/2008 or provide data on the Libyan tariff system. Talks on migration went more smoothly than expected, but significant issues remain before the agreement could be given to member states for approval. EU diplomats in Tripoli are skeptical that the EC will be able to get an agreement that can be implemented by both sides within the remaining two rounds of talks….
POLITICAL DIALOGUE: THE EC DANCES ON LIBYA’S ‘RED LINE’
2.(C/NF) Representatives of the European Commission (EC) based in Brussels conducted the latest round of Framework Agreement negotiations July 13-14 in Tripoli with sessions focused on political dialogue, trade and commerce, and migration. Diplomats from EU member states — participating as observers to the EC-Libya negotiations — said that discussions on the political framework were particularly heated. Libyan negotiator Mohammed Siala railed against language stating that the two parties agreed to discuss crimes against humanity in an international context, angrily stating that any mention of the International Criminal Court (ICC) or text similar to that of the Rome Statute would cause a total breakdown of the framework negotiations. According to the UK embassy, nothing in the political dialogue paper is binding on either party and is merely agenda-setting for future discussions. EC negotiators were not/not pushing for Libya to accede to the ICC….
TRADE AND MIGRATION: HITS AND MISSES
4.(C) … On migration, the chief EC negotiator told EU diplomats that the negotiations were a “step forward” and that more progress was made than expected with no major objections from either side on the draft as presented….”
Click here or here for the full Cable.
Click here for a post regarding an earlier US cable discussing the state of EU-Libya framework negotiations in 2008.