The Latest: ICRC chief calls for changes in Libya sanctions
MUNICH – The Latest on the Munich Security Conference (all times local):
The head of the International Committee of the Red Cross says the international community should consider “humanitarian exemptions” to economic sanctions against Libya.
Peter Maurer spoke to reporters after a three-day trip to the beleaguered North African country. He said he did not visit any detention centers for migrants in Libya that have made international headlines in recent months over their dismal conditions, but said that such facilities were at the “core” of his meetings with officials including Gen. Khalifa Hifter, the Libyan National Army chief.
He said ICRC is looking to increase its activities in Libya, pointing to the successes of a cash-handout program.
Maurer said Friday at the Munich Security Conference that he had learned about the harmful impact of the sanctions that Libya has faced following the ouster and death of longtime leader Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.
The ICRC chief didn’t specify, but suggested that those sanctions were having an harmful impact on de-mining activities — which he said are increasingly needed as people return to their homes in some recently stabilized parts of the country and “find that their homes are full of mines and unexploded ordnances.”
Dozens of world leaders, top defense officials and diplomats are gathering in southern Germany for an influential security conference amid growing strains between the U.S. and other NATO nations and Russia over the conflicts in Syria and Ukraine.
U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis is heading this year’s American delegation to the Munich Security Conference. Other participants include British Prime Minister Theresa May, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and the foreign ministers of Russia, Iran and Turkey.
The conference, which runs Friday through Sunday, provides an informal setting where diplomacy is often conducted on the sidelines, and already officials from Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany have said they’ll meet for talks on the conflict in Ukraine.