Belgium hopes to help Libya disarm its militias. It also wants to collaborate in building up the Libyan health service. These . . .[restrict]were the two main messages delivered by Belgium’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Didier Reynders, during a one-day visit to Tripoli on Monday when he met with both head of the NTC Mustafa Abdul Jalil and Prime Minister Abdurrahim Al-Kib.
Belgian forces played a significant role in the NATO operations over Libya last year and Reynders’ discussions with both the NTC leader and the premier reportedly focused on present Libyan security needs — primarily disarming the militia and securing Libya’s borders, in particular, clamping down on the smuggling of arms, drugs and people.
Al-Kib made specific reference to these areas at a press conference after his talks with the Reynders. “We seek to protectour friends and partnersin the norththrough thefight against illegal immigration,” he said. He added that Libya views Belgium as “an important partner for us and takes this opportunity to express the thanks and appreciation of the transitional government for the great support they gave us.”
He said that Libya hoped “to continue the partnership between us.” He made specific reference to potential cooperation in health as well as training. “These areas are important to us,” he said.
As a part of its support for disarmament, Belgium is planning to make a small contribution, less than half a million dollars, to a US-sponsored fund to indemnify Libyans who hand in their weapons.
Ironically, a significant number of the machine guns, hand guns, grenade launchers and other weapons held by the various brigade are made by the Belgian arms company FN Herstal.