Libya appeals for arms to battle militias
France says it will an intervention in Libya requires a ‘clear’ U.N. mandate
Libya's internationally recognized government on Monday appealed for weapons to combat militias which have seized parts of the oil-rich but conflict-wracked nation, at an emergency meeting of the Arab League.
"We call on the international community to assume its legal and moral responsibilities and to arm, without further delay, the Libyan army," said Libya's representative to the Cairo-based Arab League, Ashur Bou Rashed.
More than three years after dictator Moammar Qadhafi was toppled and killed in a NATO-backed revolt, Libya is awash with weapons and powerful militias, and has rival governments and parliaments.
The internationally recognized government and parliament elected in June have been based in the remote east since an Islamist-backed militia coalition, Fajr Libya (Libya Dawn), seized Tripoli last year.
Fajr Libya also controls Libya’s third city Misrata, while much of second city Benghazi is also in the hands of militias.
Bou Rashed insisted on the need to score a "military victory over the brutal militias to prevent them from further expanding their influence across Libya" and help reach a political solution.
His comments came as the United Nations postponed peace talks it was hoping to hold Monday between Libya's warring factions.
The talks, originally slated for December 9, have been repeatedly delayed because of escalating violence.
Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi voiced regret at the latest postponement.
French President Francois Hollande said Monday that his country would not intervene unilaterally in Libya, noting that there would have to be a “clear” U.N. mandate to end the crisis in the North African Country.
France had led the international military campaign that helped oust the regime of Qaddafi. But the country has since plunged in a civil war between former rebels.
“We are acting to contain terrorism in the south, but France will not intervene in Libya because it's for the international community to live up to its responsibilities,” Hollande told French radio.
Asked if France would take action in a United Nations-mandated operation, Hollande said there would have to be a “clear mandate,” “clear organization” and the “political conditions” would have to be in place.
“We're not yet going down that road,” added Hollande.
The president of neighboring Niger said on Friday that a solution to the crisis in Libya was not possible without international intervention.
“I do not see how the armed terrorist militias can create the conditions for reconciliation among Libyans,” said President Mahamadou Issoufou.
“An international intervention is essential to the reconciliation of all Libyans,” including supporters of former dictator Moamer Khadafi, who himself was deposed and killed in 2011 after an international military intervention.
French Defence Minister Yves Le Drian recently visited the region and paid a surprise visit to northern Niger, to see a base being built to combat the growing flow of weapons and jihadists from Libya.
Le Drian said his visit demonstrated France's “determination... against the jihadists, terrorism and those who want to transform this ancient caravan route into a route of violence and trafficking.”