By Libya Herald reporters.
Tripoli, 16 April 2016:
In a further European demonstration of support for the Presidency Council and the proposed Government . . .[restrict]of National Accord, French and German foreign ministers Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault and Frank-Walter Steinmeier this afternoon confirmed their offer to prime minister-designate Faiez Serraj to train the country’s security forces if Libya so desires.
The two ministers, in a joint flying visit to Tripoli, also discussed the possibility of European military support for Libya in the fight against the so-called Islamic State.
Nothing, however, would happen “unless the [Libyan] government wants it and examines it in a very concrete manner,” Ayrault said.
EU foreign and defence ministers are to discuss the security situation in Libya and potential support in Luxembourg on Monday.
In an unexpected move in Tripoli the afternoon, however, Steinmeier said that training of Libyan security forces should take place outside Libya, at least initially.
“I think it is realistic enough to say we have to start training measures from my point of view outside of Libya,” he was quoted as saying.
Other Europeans have said in recent weeks that training of Libyan forces would have to take place in Libya itself.
Referring to the struggle against IS, Stenmeier repeated the European line that said that it was up to the Libyans alone to fight it as well as rebuild the country.
Germany has taken an increasingly prominent role in supporting the Presidency Council, being first to publicly put its money on the table with a promise of €3 million in emergency aid in a phone conversation from Stenmeier to Serraj last Saturday and then a further €10 million offered to the Libya Stabilisation Fund at the Libya aid conference in Tunis on Tuesday.
The German minister also disclosed today that he and Ayrault had arrived with a consignment of medical aid.
The move mirrors that of Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni who brought a planeload of medical aid when he flew in for talks with Serraj on Tuesday.
Today’s visit also follows that on Thursday by the British, French and Spanish ambassadors to Tripoli and is part of active efforts by the Europeans to ensure that the GNA succeeds. [/restrict]