TRIPOLI - The UN-backed government of Libya on Thursday decided to activate two security memorandums of understanding (MoUs) signed with Turkey on Nov. 27. One of the two MoUs is a maritime boundary deal that covers areas also claimed by Greece. It was denounced by Greece, Egypt and Cyprus as a violation of international law. The UN-backed government’s decision comes as Turkish support of the UN-backed government against the rival eastern-based army increases, which will increase direct foreign support to each of the rival parties. Therefore, Libya, particularly the capital Tripoli, may witness a high level of military action between the two rivals, according to Libyan experts. “The MoU approved by the Government of National Accord came at a very sensitive time and would raise negative international moves in Libya. Countries that support each party will intensify their military support, in an attempt to respond to this move by the Tripoli-based government,” Miloud Al-Hajj, Libyan university professor of international relations, told Xinhua. “The Government of National Accord felt that the international community had let it down as Haftar’s forces (eastern-based army) continue to besiege Tripoli. Therefore, it had no choice but to resort to Turkey and ask for military assistance to pressure the forces of Haftar (commander of eastern-based army) and the countries that support him, mainly the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Western Balkans leaders discuss steps to accelerate regional cooperation

TIRANA - The third regional meeting of the Western Balkans’ leaders kicked off here on Saturday with a session, during which steps needed to accelerate regional cooperation were discussed. The meeting brought together Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, Serbian President AleksandarVucic, President of Montenegro, Milo Djukanovic, and ZoranZaev, prime minister of North Macedonia. The third regional meeting of the Western Balkans’ leaders, or the so-called “Mini-Schengen” initiative, followed the previous meetings held in Serbia and North Macedonia. Speaking at a joint press conference held by the four leaders, Rama expressed his conviction that this initiative is in full coherence with the ambition expressed by all countries and the commitment of each of them to become part of the European family, joining forces to accelerate the EU integration process, in order to create the standards that respond to the “four freedoms” in the EU, namely freedom of movement for people, goods, capital and services.