EU to discuss ‘concrete’ support in video-link with Libya

Federica Mogherini [EEAS]

European Union ministers will discuss “concrete” economic and security projects to back Libya’s new unity government as a bulwark against Islamic State group and migrant
surges to Europe.

The foreign and defence ministers in Luxembourg will discuss via video link such support with Libyan prime minister-designate Fayez al-Sarraj in Tripoli, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini told reporters.

The ministers will work “to identify concrete projects in different fields that are the priorities of the Libyan people and of the Libyan government…on the economic and political and security side,” Mogherini said.

The video conference will take place at 7 pm (1700 GMT).

Also on the agenda of the Foreign Affairs Council, meeting over two days, is ISIS in Iraq and Syria, relations with Tunisia, and the Eastern Partnership, especially Ukraine.

Five years of chaos

Libya’s recognised parliament is also due to vote on the Government of National Accord (GNA), which is supported by the international community in a bid to end nearly five years of chaos following the 2011 overthrow of Moamer Kadhafi.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, who visited Libya on Saturday with German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier, told reporters in Luxembourg that Libyan and international support was “indispensible” to restore stability.

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“The migration problem is obviously part of this important question, the fight against Daesh is also part of this question,” he said, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group.

He added that the ministers would discuss steps to stop migrant smuggling and arms trafficking.

“I think Libya needs emergency aid to organise its security forces, police, to reorganise its army, its coast border and coast guard,” Ayrault said.

The EU has prepared an aid package of 100 million euros for economic, humanitarian and development issues in Libya. It is also ready to help train the police and coastguard and fight terrorism.

Some EU countries want the new government to give the green light for Operation Sophia, an EU naval mission set up last year to stop migrant traffickers, to enter Libyan waters.

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond made a surprise visit to Tripoli on Monday on the heels of the weekend visits by his French and German counterparts and another by Italy’s Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni last week.

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