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24 Hours Across Africa

Libya in focus as G7 foreign ministers seeks dialogue.

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Source: Reuters

Foreign ministers from the G7 group of nations will discuss the threat of a resurgence in Libya’s civil war at a meeting in western France on Friday, as world powers scrambled to defuse a dangerous escalation in the oil producer’s power struggle.

A military advance towards Tripoli and Libya’s U.N. backed government by eastern commander Khalifa Haftar has taken the United Nations by surprise, just as its secretary general was in the capital to plan a peace conference later this month.

Shortly before the summit began, British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the G7 was monitoring the situation with a great deal of concern.

“Libya is likely to be at the heart of exchanges today and tomorrow. It will be looked at in detail, hopefully to allow us to move forward and avoid the situation getting worse,” a senior French diplomat said.

Concern over Libya’s stability is heightened by continuing political tensions around Europe over migration from north Africa, despite the fact that the numbers of new arrivals in Europe via the central Mediterranean have plummeted.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian welcomed his counterparts from the club of big rich nations under a dull gray sky in Brittany, for a meeting overshadowed by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s absence and Britain’s Brexit meltdown.

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French diplomats say Paris has scaled back its ambitions for France’s presidency of the club of big rich countries, after U.S. President Donald Trump threw last year’s summit in Canada into disarray, backing out of a joint communique and firing barbs at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The French diplomat sought to downplay Pompeo’s snub saying: “We’re working well with the Americans. Yes, we have differences on some subjects, but that isn’t holding back the quality of our dialogue.”

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24 Hours Across Africa

Tunisia: former President Ben Ali confirmed dead

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All time, former Tunisia’s President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali has died in exile aged 83, his family says.

Ben Ali led the country for 30years and was credited with delivering stability and some economic prosperity.

But he received widespread criticism for suppressing political freedoms and for widespread corruption.

In 2011, he was forced from office following mass street protests. This triggered a wave of similar uprisings across the Arab world.

At least half a dozen countries in the region saw their president fall or conflicts break out in the wake of the former Tunisian leader’s downfall, in what became known as the Arab Spring.

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24 Hours Across Africa

Gantz refuse’s Netanyahu offer on unity government

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After a vote tally showing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tied with his main rival.

Israel’s weakened Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saw his offer on Thursday for a coalition with his strongest political rival,  Gantz, swiftly rebuffed after failing to secure a governing majority in a tight election.

Netanyahu’s surprise move was an abrupt change of strategy for the right-wing leader. Its rejection could spell weeks of wrangling after Tuesday’s election, which followed an inconclusive national ballot in April.

Gantz’s centrist Blue and White party emerged from the second round of voting this year slightly ahead of Netanyahu’s Likud, but also short of enough supporters in the 120-member parliament for a ruling bloc.

Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving leader, said in a video clip in which he urged Gantz, the country’s former military chief, to meet him “as soon as today”, that he had pledged during the election campaign to form a right-wing, Likud-led government.

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