Questions Rise over Sarraj’s Visit to Turkey Days after Retracting Resignation

GNA head Fayez al-Sarraj. (AP file photo)
GNA head Fayez al-Sarraj. (AP file photo)
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Questions Rise over Sarraj’s Visit to Turkey Days after Retracting Resignation

GNA head Fayez al-Sarraj. (AP file photo)
GNA head Fayez al-Sarraj. (AP file photo)

Head of Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) Fayez al-Sarraj has kept mum over a recent surprise visit he made to Turkey, raising questions as to whether it was linked to his decision last week to retract his resignation.

Sarraj, who is still in Turkey, has not commented on reports that have linked the two developments together. The reports highlighted his secret meeting with Turkish head of intelligence Hakan Fidan.

Local Libyan media have criticized Sarraj for running the GNA from Turkey’s Istanbul, noting how he has avoided mentioning his whereabouts and official duties in all statements he has issued in the past two days.

Meanwhile, Speaker of the east-based Libyan parliament Aguila Saleh accused Turkey and other countries, as well as the Muslim Brotherhood, of seeking to diminish Egypt’s role in resolving the Libyan crisis.

Sources close to Saleh said he had met in Cairo on Sunday with senior Egyptian officials as part of the ongoing consultations between them to end the crisis.

He reiterated his support for the Cairo Declaration, describing it as a main basis for any possible future Libyan agreement.

Separately, acting head of the United Nations mission to Libya, Stephanie Williams, met in Istanbul on Saturday with Sarraj’s deputy, Ahmed Maiteeq. Talks focused on the upcoming Libyan Dialogue Forum that will be held in Tunisia on November 9.

Elsewhere, head of the pro-GNA High Council of State Khalid al-Mishri made a surprise visit to Qatar on Saturday where he met with its Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

Mishri paid the visit at the invitation of head of the Qatari Shura Council.

Talks focused on coordinating position on issues of common interest, said an official statement. They also tackled bilateral relations and the latest developments in Libya.



UN Human Rights Chief: Unconscionable Death and Suffering Happening in Gaza

A child looks on as Palestinians search for missing people under the rubble of a destroyed house following an Israeli air strike, at al-Nuseirat refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, 18 June 2024. (EPA)
A child looks on as Palestinians search for missing people under the rubble of a destroyed house following an Israeli air strike, at al-Nuseirat refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, 18 June 2024. (EPA)
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UN Human Rights Chief: Unconscionable Death and Suffering Happening in Gaza

A child looks on as Palestinians search for missing people under the rubble of a destroyed house following an Israeli air strike, at al-Nuseirat refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, 18 June 2024. (EPA)
A child looks on as Palestinians search for missing people under the rubble of a destroyed house following an Israeli air strike, at al-Nuseirat refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, 18 June 2024. (EPA)

Palestinians in the Israeli occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem are suffering a drastically worsening human rights environment, alongside "unconscionable death and suffering" in the Gaza Strip, the UN human rights chief said on Tuesday.

"The situation in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is dramatically deteriorating," Volker Turk, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, told the opening session of the UN Human Rights Council.

The West Bank, where the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority exercises limited self-rule under Israeli occupation, has seen the worst unrest for decades, in parallel with the war in the Gaza Strip, which is controlled by Hamas.

Turk said that from the start of the Gaza war in October through mid-June, 528 Palestinians, 133 of them children, had been killed by Israeli security forces or settlers in the West Bank, in some cases raising "serious concerns of unlawful killings".

Twenty-three Israelis have been killed in the West Bank and Israel in clashes with or attacks by Palestinians, he said.

In Gaza, Turk said he was "appalled by the disregard for international human rights and humanitarian law" by parties to the war.

"Israel's relentless strikes in Gaza are causing immense suffering and widespread destruction, and the arbitrary denial and obstruction of humanitarian aid have continued," Turk said.

"Israel continues to detain arbitrarily thousands of Palestinians. This must not continue."

He added that Palestinian armed groups were continuing to hold hostages, including in populated areas, which put both the hostages and civilians at risk.

Israel's permanent mission to the UN in Geneva accused Turk of "completely omitting the cruelty and barbarity of terrorism" in his address to the UN Human Rights Council.

"Hostilities in Gaza are the direct result of Hamas terrorism, decades of rocket-fire and incitement against the Jewish people and the State of Israel, culminating in its brutal attacks against Israel on October 7," the diplomatic mission said in a statement.

Israel's ground and air campaign was triggered when Hamas-led fighters stormed into southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing around 1,200 people and seizing more than 250 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.

Israel's offensive has killed more than 37,400 people in Gaza, according to its health authorities, and left much of the enclave's population homeless.