France wants action on Libya

2015-01-03 11:17
French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian addresses French troops of the detachment of the Operation Barkhane on at a French base outside the northern Malian city of Gao. (Dominique Faget, AFP)

French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian addresses French troops of the detachment of the Operation Barkhane on at a French base outside the northern Malian city of Gao. (Dominique Faget, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Niamey -  French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Friday world powers must tackle instability in Libya but he stopped short of openly backing the military intervention called for by regional powers in the Sahel.

Speaking shortly after meeting Le Drian in Niamey, Niger's president, Mahamadou Issoufou, reiterated calls for an international military intervention in Libya, a position supported by several other African leaders concerned about the impact of the country's lawlessness on the region.

The leaders of Mali and Senegal have called for action by the West in Libya to end to chaos they say stems from the 2011 intervention that helped oust Libya's longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi.

'Libya is chaos'

While two rival governments compete for legitimacy in Tripoli, Libya's desert south has become a stronghold for armed groups, some with links to al Qaeda.

"Libya is chaos today and it is a breeding ground for terrorists that threaten the stability of Niger and, further afield, France," Le Drian said in Niamey.

"We think that the moment has come to ensure that the international community tackles the Libyan problem. I think this is also what President Issoufou believes," he said.

Le Drian had on Thursday visited a French military base at Madama, a remote fortress town at a crossroads of desert trade routes in northern Niger, near Libya's border.

Underscoring the scale of the task faced by French troops, the base is some 10 days' drive from Niger's capital and is battered by winds of up to 120 kilometres per hour.

'Political mess'

Le Drian said the location of the Madama deployment of some 200 men was key as it would allow troops to intervene in Niger quickly and efficiently, highlighting how France's intervention against Islamists in Mali in 2013 has mutated into a broader, regional mission to hunt down Islamists across the Sahel.

However, France has so far ruled out a direct military action in Libya and Le Drian said nothing to change that position during a trip to visit some of the 3 200 troops in the region this week.

Issoufou said the Sahel was "paying the price" for the political mess left behind after NATO military action helped remove Gaddafi and direct Western action was needed to fix the situation.

"I don't see how armed terrorist militias are going to bring about reconciliation in Libya," he said.

Read more on:    al qaeda  |  nato  |  mahamadou issoufou  |  niger  |  france  |  libya  |  north africa

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.