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EU offers support to Libyan unity government

‘But the process in Libya is fragile can easily be sabotaged. We must therefore continue to support UN efforts in Libya. One way the Netherlands does this is by helping facilitate dialogue with the militias. This is essential if we are to boost support for the government and the process in general.’

EU offers support to Libyan unity government

At Monday’s meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council in Luxembourg, the assembled European ministers of defence and foreign affairs announced their support for Libya’s new unity government, which the EU regards as the only legitimate government in the country. The EU stands ready to assist Libya in strengthening its police force, fighting terrorism, countering people smuggling, guarding its borders and tackling the issue of migration. The EU has also pledged a €100-million aid package aimed at rapid reconstruction and humanitarian assistance. The exact nature of the support will depend on the specific needs on the ground.

Strengthening the police

‘This evening I spoke at length with Prime Minister Serraj,’ said foreign minister Bert Koenders. ‘We need to address the requests made by this new government, in order to bolster its legitimacy.

We’ve put together a package worth over €100 million in humanitarian and stability aid. We are also contributing to coastguard training, and the EU is making preparations for strengthening the police force.

These are important steps: the Sahel, the Mediterranean and Europe are inextricably linked.’ Last weekend Mr Koenders travelled to Mali, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, in order to discuss the far-reaching effects of migration and to conclude migration partnerships on behalf of the EU.

Importance of international support

Defence Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert underscored the importance of international support for building up the Libyan security sector. ‘The unity government badly needs our help in the area of security, including the fight against ISIS,’ she said. ‘And the EU should do its part. Coordination is vital, not only among the various international organisations such as the UN, NATO and the EU, but bilaterally as well. The Libyan government needs to quickly issue a request specifying precisely what support it requires.’

A step in the right direction

The unity government was formed after 18 months of negotiations, which were conducted under the auspices of the United Nations.

A key condition for obtaining public support for the government is securing the approval of the Libyan parliament. After this, various urban militias must also give their support.

The first members of the unity government took up their positions in Tripoli in 30 March.

‘The fact that the first government ministers are already in Tripoli is a step in the right direction,’ said Mr Koenders. ‘But the process in Libya is fragile can easily be sabotaged. We must therefore continue to support UN efforts in Libya. One way the Netherlands does this is by helping facilitate dialogue with the militias. This is essential if we are to boost support for the government and the process in general.’

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