Libya seeks Russian help
Libyan Prime Minister Fayez Seraj of the U.N.-backed government in Tripoli had said that he would like Russia to help overcome deadlock in the country, which was struggling with divisions among militias and an Islamist militant threat. In an interview with Reuters, Seraj expressed hope that Moscow might act as an intermediary between him and Khalifa Haftar, a military commander who was supported by factions based in the east of Libya. Seraj's Government of National Accord had been trying to formulate plans for unified Libyan security forces since arriving in Tripoli in March, but had made little progress. Neighbouring Egypt talked this month to the Tripoli and eastern factions, which were both vying for control of the whole country. However, it failed to engineer a meeting between the two key figures, Seraj and Haftar. Asked whether Moscow could become a useful intermediary to pass on political messages or pressure to Haftar, Seraj said"Yes". Seraj had already held talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Moscow's ambassador in Libya. Egyptian sources had said Seraj and Haftar agreed to honour a plan for creating a joint committee to negotiate reconciliation and elections by February 2018. But Seraj said: "There was no agreement in Cairo... Unfortunately the other side remains stubborn in rejecting dialogue."
Juncker advocates stiff stance
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker had said that Europe must not cave in to U.S demands to raise military spending, arguing that development and humanitarian aid could also count as security. U.S. President Donald Trump had raised questions about his commitment to the NATO defence alliance if European countries did not raise defence spending to 2 percent of economic output. The United States was paying 70 percent of alliance funds. U.S. Defence Secretary Jim Mattis had warned North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies that they must honour military spending pledges to make sure the United States did not moderate its support. Juncker said in a speech on the sidelines of the international Munich Security Conference "It has been the American message for many, many years. I am very much against letting ourselves be pushed into this," . He said he knew that Germany would no longer have a budget surplus if it increased defence spending to 2 percent of GDP from 1.22 percent. "I don't like our American friends narrowing down this concept of security to the military," he said, arguing it would be sensible to look at a "modern stability policy" made up of several components. Juncker said that if one looked at what Europe was doing in defence plus development aid, plus humanitarian aid, the comparison with the United States would look rather different. Modern politics could not just be about raising defence spending.
“What’s he been smoking” asks Carl Bildt
Former Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt had tweeted "Sweden? Terror attack? What has he been smoking? Questions abound," . The tweet came after U.S. President Donald Trump's suggested that Sweden experienced an immigration-related security incident. His comment prompted a baffled response from the Scandinavian country as diplomats asked for an explanation and citizens responded with amusement. Trump, who in his first weeks in office had tried to sharply tighten U.S. borders on national security grounds, cited Sweden as a country that had experienced problems with immigrants. He told a rally "You look at what's happening last night in Sweden," Trump said. "Sweden. Who would believe this? Sweden. They took in large numbers. They're having problems like they never thought possible." That appeared to confuse the Swedish government, which asked the U.S. State Department to explain what the new President meant. Swedish news sources made no mention of a recent terrorism attack or other high-profile crime in the country. "Nothing spectacular happened in Sweden on Friday," wrote the Local, an English-language website in Sweden. Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom appeared to respond to Trump's latest statement by posting on Twitter an excerpt of a recent speech in which she said democracy and diplomacy "require us to respect science, facts and the media." Other Swedes mocked Trump's remark on Twitter using the hashtag #LastNightInSweden, posting pictures of reindeer, Swedish meatballs and people assembling the country's famous IKEA furniture.
Mogadishu car bombing
At least 14 people were killed on Sunday when a car packed with explosives blew up near a busy intersection in Mogadishu. The explosion was the first big attack in the Somali capital since the election of new President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed — nicknamed Farmajo — although several mortar blasts claimed by Al-Shabaab militants marked the official handover of power last week. Witnesses said the bombing targeted an intersection in southern Mogadishu's Madina district where soldiers, civilians and traders were present. AU troops drove Shabaab militants out of Mogadishu in August 2011 but the militants continued to control rural areas and launched repeated attacks in the capital.