Libië verbreekt contacten met Frankrijk

De Libische overheid heeft vrijdag officieel alle diplomatieke relaties met Frankrijk opgeheven. Frankrijk is het enige westerse land dat de groep rebellen in Benghazi erkend heeft.

In een toelichting gaf de adjunct-minister van Buitenlandse Zaken Khaled Kaim aan dat Frankrijk er alleen op uit is ‘om Libië te verdelen’.

De overige Europese landen hebben het voorbeeld van Frankrijk tot dusver niet gevolgd. Op een EU-top werd vandaag ook geen uitspraak gedaan over het al dan niet steunen van een no-flyzone boven Libië.

( / 11.03.2011)

The Sykes-Picot agreement

Thursday, 29 November, 2001,

Map detailing the Sykes-Picot agreement

The Sykes-Picot agreement is a secret understanding concluded in May 1916, during World War I, between Great Britain and France, with the assent of Russia, for the dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire.

The agreement led to the division of Turkish-held Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and Palestine into various French and British-administered areas. The agreement took its name from its negotiators, Sir Mark Sykes of Britain and Georges Picot of France.

Some historians have pointed out that the agreement conflicted with pledges already given by the British to the Hashimite leader Husayn ibn Ali, Sharif of Mecca, who was about to lead an Arab revolt in the Hejaz against the Ottoman rulers on the understanding that the Arabs would eventually receive a much more important share of the territory won.

The agreement

It is accordingly understood between the French and British governments: That France and Great Britain are prepared to recognise and protect an independent Arab states or a confederation of Arab states (a) and (b) marked on the annexed map, under the suzerainty of an Arab chief. That in area (a) France, and in area (b) Great Britain, shall have priority of right of enterprise and local loans. That in area (a) France, and in area (b) Great Britain, shall alone supply advisers or foreign functionaries at the request of the Arab state or confederation of Arab states.

That in the blue area France, and in the red area Great Britain, shall be allowed to establish such direct or indirect administration or control as they desire and as they may think fit to arrange with the Arab state or confederation of Arab states.

That in the brown area there shall be established an international administration, the form of which is to be decided upon after consultation with Russia, and subsequently in consultation with the other allies, and the representatives of the sheriff of Mecca.

That Great Britain be accorded (1) the ports of Haifa and Acre, (2) guarantee of a given supply of water from the Tigris and Euphrates in area (a) for area (b). His majesty’s government, on their part, undertake that they will at no time enter into negotiations for the cession of Cyprus to any third power without the previous consent of the French government.

That Alexandretta shall be a free port as regards the trade of the British empire, and that there shall be no discrimination in port charges or facilities as regards British shipping and British goods; that there shall be freedom of transit for British goods through Alexandretta and by railway through the blue area, or (b) area, or area (a); and there shall be no discrimination, direct or indirect, against British goods on any railway or against British goods or ships at any port serving the areas mentioned.

That Haifa shall be a free port as regards the trade of France, her dominions and protectorates, and there shall be no discrimination in port charges or facilities as regards French shipping and French goods. There shall be freedom of transit for French goods through Haifa and by the British railway through the brown area, whether those goods are intended for or originate in the blue area, area (a), or area (b), and there shall be no discrimination, direct or indirect, against French goods on any railway, or against French goods or ships at any port serving the areas mentioned.

That in area (a) the Baghdad railway shall not be extended southwards beyond Mosul, and in area (b) northwards beyond Samarra, until a railway connecting Baghdad and Aleppo via the Euphrates valley has been completed, and then only with the concurrence of the two governments.

That Great Britain has the right to build, administer, and be sole owner of a railway connecting Haifa with area (b), and shall have a perpetual right to transport troops along such a line at all times. It is to be understood by both governments that this railway is to facilitate the connection of Baghdad with Haifa by rail, and it is further understood that, if the engineering difficulties and expense entailed by keeping this connecting line in the brown area only make the project unfeasible, that the French government shall be prepared to consider that the line in question may also traverse the Polgon Banias Keis Marib Salkhad tell Otsda Mesmie before reaching area (b).

For a period of 20 years the existing Turkish customs tariff shall remain in force throughout the whole of the blue and red areas, as well as in areas (a) and (b), and no increase in the rates of duty or conversions from ad valorem to specific rates shall be made except by agreement between the two powers.

There shall be no interior customs barriers between any of the above-mentioned areas. The customs duties leviable on goods destined for the interior shall be collected at the port of entry and handed over to the administration of the area of destination.

It shall be agreed that the French government will at no time enter into any negotiations for the cession of their rights and will not cede such rights in the blue area to any third power, except the Arab state or confederation of Arab states, without the previous agreement of His Majesty’s government, who, on their part, will give a similar undertaking to the French government regarding the red area.

The British and French government, as the protectors of the Arab state, shall agree that they will not themselves acquire and will not consent to a third power acquiring territorial possessions in the Arabian peninsula, nor consent to a third power installing a naval base either on the east coast, or on the islands, of the red sea. This, however, shall not prevent such adjustment of the Aden frontier as may be necessary in consequence of recent Turkish aggression.

The negotiations with the Arabs as to the boundaries of the Arab states shall be continued through the same channel as heretofore on behalf of the two powers.

It is agreed that measures to control the importation of arms into the Arab territories will be considered by the two governments.

( / 11.03.2011)

Oppositie boycot Kamerreis naar Midden-Ooste

ANP − 17/02/11, 21:39
Een bezoek aan Egypte is nu niet mogelijk. © afp

DEN HAAG – De oppositiepartijen PvdA, SP, D66 en GroenLinks boycotten een geplande reis van de vaste Kamercommissie Buitenlandse Zaken naar het Midden-Oosten. De regeringspartijen VVD, CDA en de PVV, ChristenUnie en SGP zullen nu alleen gaan.

De belangrijkste reden voor de thuisblijvers is dat de reis in hun ogen niet meer evenwichtig is nu een bezoek aan Egypte niet mogelijk is en een bezoek aan de Gaza-strook door de Israëlische minister van Buitenlandse Zaken Avigdor Lieberman wordt geblokkeerd.

Israël erkent de Hamas-beweging in de Gaza-strook niet. De Kamerleden waren overigens niet van plan om contact te hebben met leden van Hamas, maar wilden wel naar de VN-organisatie Unrwa gaan en de situatie ter plekke bekijken.

De reis is volgens Pechtold nu niet evenwichtig meer. ‘Dan ga je naar Israël en pro forma bezoek je nog twee andere landen.’ Hij is teleurgesteld dat de drie partijen die het kabinet schragen (VVD, PVV, CDA) en de twee christelijke partijen alsnog gaan. ‘Laten ze dat maar richting kiezer en belastingbetaler verantwoorden. Er was geen enkele reden dat de reis niet een half jaar kon worden uitgesteld.’

Niet meer evenwichtig
Ook PvdA, SP en GroenLinks vonden de reis niet meer evenwichtig. VVD-Kamerlid Atzo Nicolaï stelde dat de reis niet zoveel is veranderd ten opzichte van het oorspronkelijke schema. Egypte is om begrijpelijke redenen afgevallen (het parlement is ontbonden, dus er zijn geen parlementariërs om mee te praten) en Gaza was altijd al een zeer onzekere factor. De reis is nog altijd interessant, gevarieerd en veelzijdig, aldus Nicolaï. ‘De hele wereld kijkt nu naar het Midden-Oosten, waarom zouden wij niet gaan.’

SP-Kamerlid Harry van Bommel noemde het zeer onwenselijk en een asociaal besluit dat de meerderheid van de Kamercommissie toch besloot de reis te maken. Voorzitter Nebahat Albayrak van de vaste Kamercommissie constateerde dat het een precedent is dat een deel van het parlement nu namens de hele Tweede Kamer een officiële reis maakt. Ze kondigde aan er met Kamervoorzitter Gerdi Verbeet over te gaan praten.

( / 11.03.2011)

Libyan military forces sock key oil port

Ras Lanuf, Libya (CNN) — The military forces of Moammar Gadhafi on Friday pounded Ras Lanuf, the key oil port once in the hands of rebel forces, and its leadership confidently vowed the retake all territory from the opposition.

Pro-Gadhafi forces cranked up an intense and steady bombardment of the city, believed to be by rocket, artillery and tank fire. A refinery was hit and a storage tank is on fire. Huge plumes of thick, black smoke can be seen.

Dozens of pickup trucks and cars belonging to the opposition are heading away from the city amid fear that Libyan forces are advancing as the bombardment continues. The rebels evacuated to a checkpoint outside the town but that and other rebel positions were targeted by airstrikes.

Rebels claim the eastern city has been essentially empty as civilians fled and opposition forces retreated from sustained attacks. On Thursday, state media claimed that the town was “cleansed” of the fighters.

This reflects the turn in fortunes for Gadhafi’s well-equipped military, who have gained an upper hand after rebel fighters seized ground across Libya.

Along with its offensive in Ras Lanuf, government soldiers beat back rebels Thursday in Zawiya east of the capital, Tripoli.

Zawiya’s Martyrs’ Square was littered with the bombed-out, scorched carcasses of army tanks and other military vehicles. Workers swept up the evidence as Gadhafi supporters chanted slogans and waved green flags.

Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, one of Gadhafi’s sons and a spokesman for the regime, vowed on Thursday to retake other areas in eastern Libya that were controlled by the opposition and warned the international community that Libyans won’t welcome NATO and Americans. NATO is contemplating the establishment of a no-fly zone, but says it needs a clear U.N. mandate to do it.

“I receive hundreds of calls from the east daily and they are saying, ‘Save us.’ They are begging us and pleading for us to save them and my answer is two words. Listen to me and I want those armed groups to listen to me real well, and I want our people in the east to hear this as well: We’re coming,” he said.

Saif al-Islam Gadhafi is one of two Moammar Gadhafi sons who share the first name Saif.

On the diplomatic front, international opposition to Moammar Gadhafi has gained momentum.

The French government on Thursday recognized the newly created Libyan opposition movement as the sole representative of the country and the British foreign secretary spoke to an opposition representative over the phone.

On Friday, the Libyan ambassador to the United States and to the United Nations will call on the United States to follow France’s lead and recognize the opposition as the legitimate representative of Libya.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has announced plans to meet with opposition leaders when she visits Tunisia and Egypt next week. She said the United States was suspending relations with the Libyan Embassy in Washington, and an administration official added the embassy “must shut down.”

Protests against the 68-year-old Gadhafi began February 15 as anti-government demonstrators sought his ouster after nearly 42 years of rule, and the discontent devolved into a fierce and bloody civil war.

Death toll estimates earlier this week ranged from more than 1,000 to as many as 2,000.

As of Thursday morning, the war had forced out nearly 250,000 people, many of them poor migrant workers who have been stranded at both the Tunisian and Egyptian borders, the U.N. refugee agency said.

( / 11.03.2011)