Tunisia, Niger find Libya chaos threatening

While Tunisia sees chaotic Libya as threatening, Niger says ‘international intervention’ can defeat terrorism in Libya

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While Tunisia’s outgoing prime minister described chaotic Libya as threatening to his country’s stability, Niger’s president urged for an international intervention to stave off any spillover coming from the conflict-torn state into its neighboring countries.

Tunisian premier Mehdi Jomaa told the Associated Press that the greatest threat to his country’s stability came from Libya on the eve of his official trips to France and the United States to discuss counter-terrorism cooperation.

Jomaa became interim prime minister at the start of the year and guided the country through presidential and legislative elections. He will soon be stepping aside for the newly elected government.

He described Libya as in a state of war, as militias battle each other, and said for the past months Tunisian forces guarding the 450 kilometer (280 mile) border have been on a state of alert.

Jomaa said his trips to France and the U.S. will focus on the situation in Libya, including efforts by neighboring nations to open dialogue with its officials. Tunisia also will seek military aid to help modernize its armed forces and protect its borders.

On the same day, Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou said a solution to the crisis in Libya is not possible without an international intervention.

“I do not see how the armed terrorist militias can create the conditions for reconciliation among Libyans,” said Issoufou.

“An international intervention is essential to the reconciliation of all Libyans,” including supporters of former leader Muammar Qaddafi, who himself was deposed and killed in 2011 after an international military intervention.

Since the overthrow of Qaddafi’s regime, Libya has collapsed into a chaos of warring militias and rival governments, and is awash with weapons that travel in an arc of unrest through northern Mali and Niger.

Issoufou was speaking shortly after a meeting with France’s Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, who has been visiting French troops stationed in Chad and Niger.

(With AFP and the Associated Press)

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