International community ready to help Libyan GNA: British foreign minister

Ahmed Abbas
3 Min Read

The international community is ready to help the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) by training Libyan forces, British minister of foreign affairs Philip Hammond said on Monday during a visit to Libya.

After several failed attempts to train Libyan forces, Hammond said the circumstances in Libya are now suitable, and the two warring parties have understood that the “Islamic State” (IS) is their enemy.

The British minister announced that the Libyan government will received funds of £10m to support them in tackling illegal migration, smuggling and organised crime, and to support counter-terrorism efforts, according to Hammond.

“I’m confident that, if the conditions are right, training programmes in Libya or in a neighbouring country will be more successful than trying to do it in Europe”, said Hammond.

Hammond’s visit came amid a divide in the internationally-recognised Tobruk Parliament which has yet to decide whether to back the GNA or not. Western powers are urging the parliament to authenticate the GNA without delay as IS is using the political unrest to continue spreading across the north regions of Libya.

However, the British minister said they are already in discussions with the government.

“We recognise the government and we are working with the government. We want to see the House of Representatives deliver on its obligations in the Libya political agreement,” Hammond said.

The new Libyan prime minister Fayez Al Sarraj urged Europe to help Libya stop human trafficking. However, he did not ask the EU formally which is crucial for the union to be able to move its European maritime convoy to Libyan regional waters.

The high representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini said the EU is ready to help the GNA, adding that they can offer €100m to Libya.

The EU is reported to be planning to implement a wide-scale coast guard to prevent illegal immigration, but will not take this measure until the Libyan government sends a formal request.

The foreign ministers of Italy, France and Germany visited Libya last week.

Following his visit, French foreign minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said: “Bringing security to the nation is vital, not just for the Libyan people but for the entire region and for Europe.”

Sweden said an authorisation from the UN will be required if the convoy is to prevent weapons smuggling as well.

However, Russia is not believed to be backing this resolution in the UN. Moscow holds the opinion that the West went too far when it aided the ouster of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 which left the country in chaos.

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Ahmed Abbas is a journalist at DNE’s politics section. He previously worked as Egypt based reporter for, and interned as a broadcast journalist at Deutsche Welle TV in Berlin. Abbas is a fellow of Salzburg Academy of Media and Global Change. He holds a Master’s Degree of Journalism and New Media from Jordan Media Institute. He was awarded by the ICFJ for best public service reporting in 2013, and by the German foreign office for best feature in 2014.
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