Saturday, April 16, 2016

Europeans ready to fight ISIS group in Libya, but with which government?

Alarmed by the expansion of the Islamic State group in Lybia, European governments are throwing their support behind the embattled "unity" government.

The foreign ministers of France and Germany, Jean-Marc Ayrault and Frank-Walter Steinmeier, made an unannounced visit on Saturday to the Libyan capital, Tripoli, to shore up support for the UN-backed government of Fayez Serraj.

Ambassadors from France, Britain, and Spain also visited earlier the same naval base where the UN-backed cabinet has set up his fledgling administration. During a joint press conference in Tripoli on April 14, the group of diplomats even pledged to re-open embassies closed back in 2014, when the Libyan capital descended into chaos.

Since the downfall of late Libyan leader Muammar Ghaddafi, who was killed in a popular uprising, the country has descended into near-anarchy, ruled by rival militias vying for power while the Islamic State group has gained influence.

"We are all ready to deliver the necessary support to the unity government based on its request," said the French envoy, Antoine Sivan, from the Tripoli naval base where the new UN-brokered Libyan government, known as the GNA (Government of National Accord), is trying to establish itself.

The ambassadors’ trip comes as the European Union prepares to discuss sending security personnel into Libya to help stabilise the country. EU foreign and defence ministers are set to hold talks by videolink on April 18 with the head of the GNA, Fayez Serraj, about possible police and border training for Libya.

"A possible civilian ... mission could support Libyan efforts ... through advice and capacity building in the fields of police and criminal justice," says the draft, referring to counter-terrorism, border management and tackling the smuggling of migrants across the Mediterranean to Europe...


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