Libya risks becoming another Somalia, Italy says

2015-08-17 13:08


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Rome (dpa) - Libya will become a failed state like Somalia unless its warring militias quickly agree to a power-sharing agreement, Italy's foreign minister Paolo Gentiloni said in a Monday interview.

Libya has become a key human trafficking hub and launchpad for Europe-bound boat migrants, and, amid slow progress in United Nations-brokered peace talks, has seen the Islamic State seize control of the coastal city of Sirte.

"Timing is crucial and is not unlimited, especially now that the presence of [the Islamic State] in Sirte has taken worrying proportions," Gentiloni told the La Stampa newspaper.

Speaking ahead of a new round of the UN talks on Wednesday, Gentiloni said: "We either close [a deal] in a few weeks, or we will find ourselves with a new Somalia near [our] coast and we will have to react differently."

Italy is Libya's former colonial power, and, along with Malta, the European Union nation that is closest to its shores. Mounting anarchy in Libya has contributed to a sharp rise in boat migrant arrivals on Italian soil.

Hinting at the need for a military intervention, Italy's top diplomat said that in the worst case scenario the goal of the international community would "no longer be stabilising the country, but containing terrorism".

Read more on:    italy  |  libya  |  north africa

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