EU plans options for backing future Libya government

2015-03-20 13:15

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Brussels - European Union leaders are looking to back UN-brokered efforts to form a national unity government in conflict-torn Libya that may include a mission to help provide security.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said on Friday that her services are "planning all possible ways of supporting, even on the plan of security, a future national unity government".

Libya is the main departure point from Africa for migrants fleeing poverty or war in search of better lives in Europe, and the conflict has raised deep concern that extremists could also make the crossing.

"There is a pocket of instability just a few hours from Europe's borders in Libya," Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said as he arrived for the second day of an EU summit in Brussels.

"Europe must remain alert because it is potentially concerned by the consequences of any deterioration in Libya, whether it be migration, extremism, terrorism or all kinds of trafficking," he said.

Political crisis

EU leaders will offer support to the UN as talks between Libya's divided factions unfold in Morocco, and task Mogherini to plan a range of options for backing a new government.

Libya's political crisis has left the country with two parliaments and two governments, along with rival militaries and militias. The power struggle and fierce fighting has plunged the country into chaos and paved the way for the Islamic State group's expansion.

But the EU would not act without an official request from the UN or an invitation from Libya itself, and many of the 28 member countries are reluctant to provide troops or resources while instability is rife and no unity government is in place.

Mogherini has said that the EU could launch a military and border operation in Libya, followed by a rule of law mission to help build up the police and justice system. Troops could be required to guard ports or airports and public buildings.

Mogherini, whose home country Italy is on the forefront of the migration wave from Libya, said she would "bring concrete proposals" on possible measures to the next EU foreign affairs meeting on April 20.

Read more on:    un  |  eu  |  libya  |  north africa

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