The European Union is signaling that it will consider moving security personnel into Libya to help stabilize the chaotic country if requested by a new UN-backed Libyan government, according to a draft statement seen by Reuters.
Impetus for the move comes in part from fears of an uncontrolled new tide of migrants into Italy from Libya unless law and order can be rebuilt soon in the North African state.
EU foreign and defence ministers will hold a special dinner on Monday in Luxembourg where they are expected to agree to look into police and border training missions for Libya, initially in Tripoli, where the new government is trying to establish itself.
“The EU stands ready to offer security sector support in response to possible (UN) Government of National Accord requests,” ministers are expected to say, according to a draft statement prepared by diplomats that is still under discussion.
“A possible civilian ... mission could support Libyan efforts ... through advice and capacity building in the fields of police and criminal justice,” said the draft, referring to counter-terrorism, border management and tackling the smuggling of migrants across the Mediterranean to Europe.
An EU security presence in Libya, which would not involve soldiers, would be Europe’s biggest step in the oil-producing nation since a NATO-backed mission led to the fall of Libya’s long-time leader Muammar Qaddafi in 2011.
Diplomats said there had yet to be a detailed discussion with the new UN-brokered Libyan government in defining what kind of assistance they wanted from the EU, and that it keen to avoid the impression of moving into the country uninvited.
“It is a delicate balance,” said one senior EU official involved in the plans. “We need to prepare to help Libya, but we cannot jump the gun.”
Libyan officials with the new unity government were not immediately available for comment on the specific document. But they have said any international security cooperation must be Libyan-led and so far have made no detailed request for aid.
But inviting in foreign military trainers remains a sensitive subject for the new government, who opponents accuse of being a foreign-imposed body with no legitimacy.
نستخدم ملفات الكوكيز لنسهل عليك استخدام مواقعنا الإلكترونية ونكيف المحتوى والإعلانات وفقا لمتطلباتك واحتياجاتك الخاصة، لتوفير ميزات وسائل التواصل الاجتماعية ولتحليل حركة المرور لدينا...اعرف أكثر