Measures possible against Libya deal nay-sayers

2016-02-27 10:36


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Limassol - Mediterranean foreign ministers said on Friday that European countries could take unspecified "measures" against parties in Libya who block a UN-backed unity government initiative for the war-torn North African nation.

Libya has had rival parliaments and governments since 2014, after an Islamist-led militia alliance overran Tripoli and forced the internationally recognised administration to flee to the remote east of the oil-rich nation.

National accord

Extremists including the Islamic State group have exploited the chaos, raising fears of jihadists using the Libyan coast as a launchpad for attacks on Europe.

Foreign ministers from Mediterranean countries belonging to the so-called "Med Group" warned on Friday that the EU could take action against anyone blocking a unity government.

"Measures could be taken against those held accountable of spoilers of such a solution," the ministers said in a joint statement after meeting in Cyprus, without elaborating.

"A government of national accord would be a crucial partner in tackling effectively the threats and challenges to Libya, including terrorism, particularly considering the growing presence of (ISIS) and other extremist groups," they added.

Members of Libya's recognised parliament said this week they had been intimidated from voting in favour of a unity government.

Unity government

Libya was thrown into turmoil after a Nato-backed uprising that toppled longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Western countries have agreed that military action is needed to dislodge ISIS in Libya, but world powers want a national unity government installed to request help before formally intervening.

Libya's recognised government on Thursday denied a report in the Le Monde newspaper that French troops were fighting in the country.

"This is not true. We deny these reports," said government spokesperson Hatem El-Ouraybi.

Read more on:    nato  |  libya  |  north africa

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