Rome, 22 May 2017. Full support of Sahara tribes to the security agreement for cross-border cooperation between Chad, Libya and Niger
Representatives of Tuareg, Toubou and Awlad Suleyman tribes give their full support to the agreement signed in Rome Sunday 21 May by the Interior and Security Ministers of Chad, Italy, Libya and Niger.
Rome – May 22, 2017. In the framework of the dialogue “The Sahara Triangle: New Perspectives”, fifteen government and tribal leaders from three bordering countries, Chad, Libya and Niger, at the presence of the Italian Minister of Interior Marco Minniti, signed a joint statement of concrete cooperation to “support peace, development and security on their borders and beyond, because “there is no peace without security, there is no security without development, and there is no development without peace.”
The event was promoted by Ara Pacis Initiative and sponsored by the European Commission.
A further step was thus taken to consolidate the peace and reconciliation agreement between the Libyan Awlad Suleyman and Tebu tribes, facilitated by the Ara Pacis Initiative with funding from the European Commission in December 2016 and signed in the presence of the Tuareg leaders on March 28 under the auspices of the Italian Minister of Interior, Marco Minniti and Vice President of the Libyan Presidential Council, Abdulsalam Kajman.
Chadian, Libyan and Niger ministers and tribal leaders call for the immediate implementation of this reconciliation agreement on the part of the Libyan Presidential Council, Italy and the European Union, also in light of the Joint Declaration by the Interior Ministers of Chad, Italy, Libya and Niger, signed on May 21, 2017. The Awlad Suleyman-Toubou Reconciliation agreement is considered fundamental in view of maintaining the trust of key parties involved and as a necessary condition for lasting peace and security throughout the region.
Tribal leaders and ministers underlined the fundamental and binding importance of the link between peace, security and development, recalling the urgency of addressing the root causes of violence, terrorism, illegal immigration, illegal trafficking of drugs, weapons and human beings, which are to be attributed to extreme poverty, injustice and failure to honor the dignity of peoples.
“We know perfectly well that security and border control go hand in hand with a full-fledged project and full collaboration with the tribes who are historically the guardians of the Sahara,” said Mr. Minniti. “There is a relationship of mutual trust between us and we rely heavily on this relationship of mutual trust.”
“By extending the scope of the cooperation with Libyan partners to the other two Saharan countries most affected by the phenomenon of illegal immigration, smuggling and terrorism, we have activated transnational tribal networks of solidarity to bolster the official agreements between states in an inclusive way, respectful of the dignity of peoples, key factors for achieving stability and peace,” commented Maria Nicoletta Gaida, president of the Ara Pacis Initiative.
Among the signatories to the statement: Mohamed Bazoum, Minister for the Interior, Public Security, Immigration and Decentralization (Niger); Youssouf Barkay Minister of Institutional Relations (Niger); Ahmat Mahamat Bachir, Minister for the Interior, Public Security and Immigration (Chad); Youssouf Abassalah, Minister of Sports and Youth (Chad), Moulay Iqdeedi Amaa Quineedi President of the Libyan Supreme Tuareg, Alzalawi Mina Sale Qalama Alzalawi, Sultan of the Tebu of Libya, Alsunousi Masoud Zayd President of the High Council of Awlad Suleiman (Libya).
Ara Pacis Initiative hosted on 12-14 November the first meeting of the Tripartite Commission, established within the framework of the Murzuq Peace Dialogues held in October between the delegation of the Arab citizens of Murzuq [Aheli], and the delegation of the Tebu of Murzuq at its headquarters in Rome, with the support of the Italian government, implementing point 7 of the Agreement of Good Intent, signed on October 17th .
Ara Pacis Initiative, mediating party of the Commission, appointed mediators Sheikh Aboubakr Alfaqui Anquidazin Abkidah, head of the Tuareg notables of Ubari [Obari], signatory of the Doha peace agreement between Tuareg and Tebu, who was elected president of the Commission; and Dr. Ibrahim Ali, member of the Libyan Forum for International Affairs and professor of literature at the University of Sebha, elected vice president.
The Commission, made up of the two mediators, two Aheli representatives and two Tebu representatives, examined each point of the Agreement. The members concurred on procedures for its implementation, prioritising the following points: the exchange of prisoners and the identification of the deceased; the end of all violence against citizens and their property; a stop to the dissemination of hatred through social media; access of all citizens to banking services; and establishment of trust building dialogues between armed youth of both parties.
The Aheli and Tebu members of the Commission agreed to engage both delegations in devising shared solutions for the implementation of the remaining points: return of displaced persons, assessment of material damages in the city and establishment of a fact-finding commission. In particular, the identification of the necessary measures to ensure the safe and peaceful return of displaced persons to their homes.
The next meeting of the Commission is scheduled to take place within two weeks in Ubari [Obari], upon the invitation of Sheikh Aboubakr Alfaqui, who underlined how the Tuareg-Tebu Obari agreement can be shared as a positive experience within the Murzuq Peace dialogues between the Aheli and Tebu of Murzuq.
Ara Pacis Initiative is an international not for profit organisation dedicated to the human dimension of peace, active in Libya since 2013.
Agreement of Good Intent – FULL TEXT
In the framework of a meeting held in Rome from 14 to 18 October, organized by the not for profit organization Ara Pacis Initiative, with the support of the Italian government, the delegation of the Arab citizens of Murzuq [Aheli] and the delegation of the Tebu of Murzuq found an agreement in principle on the following points:
The two delegations undertake to implement the terms of this understanding in the short term and pledge from now their readiness to start a process of constructive dialogue in order to reach a final agreement for peaceful coexistence between the two parties.
The dialogue phase will start with a meeting convened by Ara Pacis Initiative in Rome under the auspices of the Italian government. Delegations from both sides will participate, along with notables, sages and dignitaries from the Fezzan and Libya.
The Parties express their unremitting will and determination to make every effort to reach the final agreement.
Signatures: Heads of Delegations
For the delegation of the Murzuq Arab citizens – Ali Mohamed SHAMSI
For the delegation of the Murzuq Tebu – Al Senousi Aja Saleh TOKA
ROME, October 17, 2019
On Thursday, 17 October 2019, in the framework of the Murzuq Peace Dialogues held in Rome with the mediation of Ara Pacis Initiative and with the support of the Italian government, the delegation of the Arab citizens of Murzuq (Aheli), led by Ali Mohammed Shamsi Saed, and the delegation of the Tebu of Murzuq, led by Alsanoussi Agi Saleh Toka, have signed an Agreement of Good Intent based on practical points, including the return of the displaced and the disclosure of the fate of the missing, in order to restore confidence between the two parties and reach a comprehensive peace agreement, which will allow the two communities to live together in peace and work towards socio-economic development of the region.
Read FULL TEXT
The Karama operation, launched by Marshal Khalifa Haftar in southern Libya in January 2019, with the aim of “protecting the south-west from terrorist elements of al-Qaeda, IS and rogue bandits involved in kidnappings, extortion and smuggling and that threaten to change the topography of southern Libya “has sharpened the contrasts between communities and tribes of southern Libya, already exacerbated following the fall of the Gaddafi regime due to prolonged conflicts, collapse of security, economic difficulties and the consequent involvement of broad sections of the population with organized crime, smuggling and trafficking in human beings.
The competition for illicit resources, given the absence of alternatives in a historically neglected geographical area, has overturned social peace and allowed divergent national and international agendas to oppose communities against each other thus furthering prospects of of peace.
If the presence of the Libyan National Army (LNA) in the south was on the one hand well received by the population exhausted by abandonment and lack of security and by opportunists in search of power and money; on the other hand it was opposed for the joining of the operation by an opposing tribe or because of the threat to particular interests.
This situation has manifested itself with particular clarity in the city of Murzuq, deep in the Fezzan, near the oil fields of Sharara and El Feel, where the Tebu * majority opposed an offensive (siege of Murzuq by the LNA in February 2019) that targeted “the criminals of the Chadian opposition”, mostly Tebu, facilitating the hunt for the Tebu by those who had with them outstanding accounts, including the Arab inhabitants of Murzuq, the Aheli.
To this was added the fear that the powerful Arab tribe of the Awlad Suleyman, in particular the members of the 6th Force of Sebha, who had joined the Haftar operation from the beginning, would take advantage of the opportunity to take revenge on the Tebu for the expulsion from the fortress of Sebha, by the Tebu, in April 2018.
The Haftar offensive has therefore sown the seeds for the emergence and re-emergence of old and new conflicts, historical grievances and ancient wounds, and has resurrected unaddressed suffering and injustice, creating fertile ground for further cycles of violence and revenge.
The internationally condemned bombardment of August 4, which killed more than 40 Tebu in the city of Murzuq, sharpened the wounds and inflamed the social conflict between the local communities of the city. An estimated 17,320 people, or nearly 60% of the Murzuq population, have fled, leaving only a small number of residents in some areas of the city.
The agreement of principles signed on Thursday 17 October in Rome by the presidents of the social commissions of the two Murzuq communities, is the first step towards a global reconciliation agreement between the Tebu and the Aheli of Murzuq which will allow for the articulation of a shared program aimed to prevent the resurgence of violence, to build trust, and to ensure urgent development and human investment measures as well as educational and professional opportunities aimed to offer young people an alternative to arms and lawlessness.
The shared program will secure a framework for security, peace and development – indispensable conditions for facing the threats of terrorism, jihadism and human trafficking that threaten the Fezzan and the entire region.
Aheli – the Aheli are the original inhabitants of Murzuq, of Arab origin and not tribal
Tebu – the Tebu (otherwise known as Toubou, Tibu, Tibbu, Tubu, Tebou, or as Goran in Chad and Ikaraden by the Toureg) are a people of the Sahara, nomads of the great desert since ancient times.
They inhabit a vast and discontinuous area in the most inhospitable regions of the central and eastern Sahara, with their heartland in the dry highlands of the Tibesti, straddling the borders of Libya, Chad, Niger and Sudan.
They can be found in Libya, up to Murzuq in the remote southernmost province of Fezzan and the oasis of Kufra in the heart of the Libyan desert; in north-east Niger in the oases of Djado Plateau, Bilma, Dirkou and Agadem; in Chad, beyond their heartland of Tibesti, in Borkou, around Lake Chad, down to Ouadai in the south, and even in the Darfur in Sudan.
Their caravans have crisscrossed the central and eastern Sahara for hundreds if not thousands of years, connecting Sub-Saharan Africa with the Mediterranean, and leaving rock art inscribed on the cliffs of the Ennedi Highlands as a testimony of their ancient culture, dating back as far as 8,000 years, today celebrated by UNESCO as World Heritage.
The Tebu have fiercely cherished their freedom across the centuries and jealously guarded their independence, their traditions, eliciting fear and respect from their neighbours.
Never a unified people, far too dispersed to have more than sporadic relationships amongst clans, these deserts warriors share a common language – Tebu, Tubaga or Tebawi – belonging to the Saharan branch of the Nilo-Saharan language family, which only recently has acquired its first alphabet. They are interconnected by marriage, share many core traditions and come together as a single nation when their clans are under attack.
Known as the “black nomads of the Sahara”, they have historically competed for the control of the central Saharan caravan routes with other nomad tribes, Arab and Berber, and especially with the Touareg and the Awlad Suleyman.
Tebu clans have faced harsh discrimination by the Arab populations of the Saharan countries they live in and have resisted brutal assimilation campaigns seeking to eliminate their language and culture.
In the aftermath of the Libyan revolution, the Tebu are living a cultural awakening that has led to seek self-determination.
Rome, 29 March 2017. Representatives of two of South Libya’s strongest tribes – the Awlad Suleiman and the Tebu – signed a permanent Peace and Reconciliation Agreement in Rome in the presence of a high ranking delegation of the Tuareg.
The agreement was signed by Sheikh Zilawi Minah Salah, Sultan of the Tebu of Libya and by General Senoussi Oumar Massaoud, President of the Council of Notables of the Awlad Suleiman.
The solemn signing ceremony between the two powerful tribes of the great Fezzan region, was held in Rome on 29th March 2017, in the presence of Abdulsalam Kajman, Member of the GNA’s Presidential Council of Libya.
Negotiations between the Tebu and the Awlad Suleiman were supported by the Italian government through the Ministry of Interior and were facilitated by the Ara Pacis Initiative, an international not for profit organization based in Rome, dedicated to supporting the human dimensions of peace.
Ara Pacis Initiative places the human being – with his/her needs, rights, moral resources, resiliency, creativity, spirituality, aspirations, dignity, and capacity to create new beginnings – at the core of conflict prevention, resolution, and transformation, and assists governments, institutions and communities in bringing divided peoples into restored, more just human relationships.
The permanent Peace and Reconciliation Agreement between the Tebu and the Awlad Suleiman tribes was signed at the headquarters of the Ara Pacis Initiative, Torretta de Massimi, and it was the outcome of intense and marathon dialogue sessions that began in Rome in December 2016, aimed at achieving peace, reconciliation, security and development in southern Libya in a perspective of contrasting human trafficking, illegal trades and terrorism.
In the agreement, the two tribes agree to cease hostilities, to re-establish mutual trust and to do everything possible to promote peaceful coexistence. They also promise to work together for the security and development of their region in collaboration with all the other tribes of the Fezzan.
In his speech during the signing ceremony, Moulay Iqdeedi Amaa Qineedi, one of the leaders of the Tuareg delegation, congratulated the Awlad Suleiman and the Tebu delegations for choosing the path of peace and reconciliation.
“We strongly believe that the Peace and Reconciliation Agreement you are about to sign after long consultations and negotiations will send a strong and clear message to our brothers and sisters at home, in our beloved Libya, that this is the right way to go,” Sheikh Moulay said. “Reconstruction of Libya can only take place through the path of reconciliation that will bring stability, peace and security.”
The ceremony to sign the agreement started with a prayer led by a Tebu Sheikh who read a Verse from the Holy Koran calling on all to be fair and good to theirs brothers because God hears and sees everything that men do.
During disagreements, the Sheikh said in his prayer, “you must always follow what God and his Prophet say.”
Referring to the members of the Awlad Suleiman as “our brothers”, the Sultan of the Tebu, holding the Tebu Constitution, said brothers may have conflicts between themselves, but the most important thing is to find a way to reconcile and make peace.
He thanked the Ara Pacis and the Italian government for having strongly supported the reconciliation and peace agreement between the Tebu and the Awlad Suleiman.
The Sultan also thanked the Libyan government represented by Vice President Kajman, for giving its auspices to the effort and moral support during the negotiations.
In his speech before signing the agreement, General Senousi, president of the Awlad Suleiman Council, said they had for long waited and dreamed of “this historic moment”.
He also thanked Dr Kajman for his moral support during the negotiations and for gracing the signing ceremony with his presence.
“We are grateful to the Italian government, to the Ara Pacis Initiative and to the entire Italian people for having supported and helped us reach this historic moment,” General Senousi said.
Stressing the importance of the agreement, the head of the Awlad Suleiman stated that the future of their tribes and of the entire Libya would depend on the success of its implementation.
On his part, Dr Kajman congratulated the Tebu and the Awlad Suleiman delegations for reaching the Reconciliation and Peace Agreement.
“This is proof that we are capable of achieving peace and closing a dark chapter of the past,” the Libyan Vice President said.
He added that it was a great honour for him to be present as a witness to the agreement “signed between our brothers the Awlad Suleiman and our brothers the Tebu, in the presence of our Tuareg brothers.”
Dr Kajman asked God to bless the Reconciliation and Peace Agreement which he described as “a model of reconciliation between all the members of the Libyan society, especially those in the South.”
He further thanked the Italian government for having supported the negotiations through Marco Minniti, Minister of the Interior, and Ara Pacis Initiative for working so hard to achieve this historic moment.
“While it is difficult to reach a peace and reconciliation agreement, it is even more difficult and challenging to implement it and maintain peace,” Dr Kajman said. “I’m however confident that this agreement will be successful because a friendly spirit reigned during the negotiations, and the two parties have clearly expressed good will and commitment to work for restoration of peace and stability in southern Libya.”
Maria Nicoletta Gaida, President of the Ara Pacis Initiative, the organization that organized the meetings and negotiations, congratulated her “extraordinary friends” from the Tebu and Awlad Suleiman tribes for choosing to be architects of peace.
“God is seeing this peace, God will guard this peace, and blessed are you who are the architects of peace,” Dr Gaida told the delegates.
The signing ceremony was a joyful moment indeed. All present applauded and praised God as they shouted Allah Akbar (God is great) and Viva Libya, Viva Italy, while exchanging greetings and embracing each other.
On the 31st of March, at the Interior Ministry, a second set of documents were signed by representatives of the two tribes, Vice President Kajman and the Italian Minister of Home Affairs, Marco Minniti, thus completing the process and opening the way to the implementation of measures in support of the reconciliation agreement.
How the agreement was reached
The delegation of each tribe was composed of the tribal chief, notables, local politicians especially mayors, representatives of the police and military, as well as elders and representatives of each clan and religious leaders.
The two delegations met for the first time in Rome last December, with support from the EU’s Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development, Human Development and Migration, to explore the path towards an agreement of reconciliation and peace.
On this occasion the two delegations broke the ice, decided to pursue the way of peace and were received by Minister Minniti who assured them of the full support of the Italian government in overcoming all the obstacles they could meet in their search for peace, reconciliation, security and development.
Returning to Rome in March, each delegation held a series of separate meetings to come up with the terms and conditions for entering into dialogue to prepare the agreement.
At the end of those meetings, each delegation prepared a draft of what it wanted to be included in the final agreement.
The two delegations then officially met to share ideas on how to prepare the agreement.
Each delegation read its draft proposal and it emerged that both proposals had many points in common.
A commission composed of representatives of the two tribes was then formed to reconcile the two drafts and incorporate the other new ideas that emerged during the joint sessions.
Vice President Kajman’s consultants and staff members of the Ara Pacis Initiative helped the commission sort out technical issues during the preparation of the final version of the agreement.
Frankfurt, 23 December 2016. The first Arabic Newspaper in Germany was launched today, 23rd December 2015, with the support of Ara Pacis Initiative.
ABWAB (“Doors”) is a newspaper by refugees and for refugees, that aims to open doors to cultural dialogue and understanding.
A cultural, social, political, independent monthly newspaper, that addresses the needs and concerns of Syrian, Iraqi and other Arabic-speaking refugees and newcomers in Germany.
Written by refugees for refugees, ABWAB is a non-partisan newspaper that has no political or religious affiliation and rejects extremism and intolerance in all its forms.
ABWAB means to be a loud voice to contrast prejudice, hate and abuse; a free platform to discuss ideas, opinions and concerns and to practice criticism and self-criticism; a door to effective understanding between Germans and newcomers; an open platform of dialogue even with communities who are hostile to refugees; a means to spread knowledge on German laws, norms and legal codes; an introduction to the rights of refugees and an instrument in support of movements who defend those rights and the rights of all minorities; an adamant and relentless advocate of the principles of dignity, freedom, democracy, citizenship, justice and equality.
The newspaper is published by New German Media Ltd and is printed every month in over 70 thousand copies and distributed free in over 400 refugee shelters, public libraries and community locations all over Germany.
Editor-in-chief of ABWAB is Ramy Al-Asheq, Syrian-Palestinian poet, writer and columnist.
The aim of ABWAB is to help those fleeing from violence and recovering from trampled dignity to settle into their new country of refuge, build human connections and learn to how to set up a new life in Germany.
The monthly free-press newspaper informs refugees on key issues from the countries they fled, from their new country of refuge, and from refugee communities across Germany.
In each issue, refugees and newcomers can find easy-to-read guides on German legislation that regards or affects refugees, helpful information about living in Germany contributed by German activists and writers, and reports and interviews from local refugee communities contributed by the many Arabic-speaking journalists and writers who in exile in Germany.
ABWAB also means to be a bridge between those who have fled violence to find refuge in Germany and those who are still in Syria, in Iraq or in other war-torn countries, by hosting stories from home that do not focus on violence, but promote healing, empathy, peace-building and reconciliation. Stories of men, women, children from all sides of the conflict who have survived unspeakable suffering and are willing to share their lesson of courage and resilience. Stories of friends and family in Iraq and Syria who defy prejudice, mistrust, hate, violence and revenge and dare to understand, trust, forgive, nurture compassion and empathy, and together build bridges, peace and a vision of a shared future.
What does the German law on immigration and asylum imply for refugees in Germany? Now that they achieved freedom from harm, what future can they envisage? What kind of support is available to them? What requirements do they need to meet?
Every month easy-to-read guides on German law and policy regarding or affecting Arabic-speaking refugees and newcomers in Germany are the core pages of the newspaper.
The guides will help newcomers understand the law of the land, its principles, its core values, the way it regulates everyday interactions among citizens.
The guides are drafted by legal experts, both of Arab origin and German. They are printed at the center of the paper, so they can be easily removed to be stored separately as a handbook.
News on German current affairs is drafted so to build bridges of understanding between refugee and native communities. Different languages, different cultures can be the basis of misunderstanding that stems from prejudice and fear. Learning what Germans think about refugee issues, understanding their values, acknowledging their fears and their concerns, can contribute to a different approach to daily life in Germany. Notes are made on German customs and traditions, so to orient readers on the different way of life that they will soon take part in, as well as lessons on the challenges of basic German language.
The community news section of the newspaper is dedicated to the contribution of Syrian and Iraqi refugees to the cultural and artistic landscape of Europe. It allows fellow refugees to know what is going on in other communities around Germany and Europe, learn how they are culturally active, find out about the events they promote and about the recognition and awards they receive, fostering a sense of belonging, identity and pride.
A collection of testimonials and narratives from all sides of the conflict in Syria and Iraq will be at the heart of the second part of the newspaper.
A body of stories that intend to challenge the fear and manipulation of politics, religion and history, build bridges of human connection, and reverberate Syrian and Iraqi voices of suffering, courage, resilience and transformation,
The stories will be collected in Syria and Iraq, as well as in refugees shelters in Germany and Europe, according to the standards of “dignity healing testimony” established by the international human dimension experts of the Ara Pacis Initiative Council for Dignity, Forgiveness, Justice and Reconciliation, primarily men and women who have suffered personal and collective tragedy yet have made understanding and forgiveness the starting point of a new existence.
“Bab of the Heart” is a collective effort to retrieve the trampled dignity of refugees, initiate healing, foster compassion, nurture empathy, build trust and ultimately promote solidarity, inter-communal peace and encourage mutual collaboration for a shared tomorrow.
ABWAB is published by New German Media, also publisher of Ziarul Romanesc Germania, the only free-press weekly for Romanians in Germany. New German Media is part of New European Media, a 15-year old European network of media for migrants and refugees in Europe (Stranieri in Italia, My Own Media, Foreigners in Europe), that has acquired a unique reputation in the media world for its reliable and outstanding service to foreign communities and obtained the trust of public and government institutions.
New German Media is be supported by Ara Pacis Initiative in upholding standards of “reconciliation” reporting, in a perspective of dignity, healing and inter-communal peace, challenging the fear and manipulation of regime, religion and history.
Publisher: New German Media Ltd
Target Group: Arabic-speaking communities in Germany
First issue: 23 December 2015
Circulation: +60,000 copies / issue
Format: Half Berliner format, 255 x 350 mm (w*h) full colour, Euro scale
Distribution: +400 refugee shelters across Germany
New German Media Ltd
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