By Libya Herald staff.
Tripoli, 17 June 2016:
The foreign minister in the Government of National Accord (GNA), Mohamed Siala, has had meetings today in Brussels with the head of NATO and the EU’s foreign policy chief on how both organisations can help improve security in Libya and on it borders.
The talks with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who said he was encouraged by the progress being achieved by the GNA, focused on possible NATO assistance to Libya in regard to defence and security. In 2014, at NATO’s summit in Wales, it said that it would help Libya rebuild its security and defence capacity, if asked by the Libyan government and providing it was done in harmony with the EU and the UN.
No details of what was discussed or decided today have yet been disclosed, other than a NATO statement that the meeting was part of ongoing discussions on how NATO could help Libya develop its defence and security institutions. It also said that the meeting followed a recent conversation between Stoltenberg and the internationally-recognised prime minister, Fayez Sarraj, as well as contacts between NATO and Libyan officials.
The meeting with EU foreign policy head Federica Mogherini concentrated on security on Libya’s southern borders both in regard to human trafficking and the movement or arms and terrorists. It also involved the foreign ministers of Libya’s southern neighbours, Chad and Niger and came within the context of a wider meeting of the EU and Sahel G5 states on issues relating to people trafficking, in particular efforts to reduce asylum seeker deaths in the Sahara desert.
The Sahel G5 group comprises Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.
In a statement about the meeting Mogherini noted that “there is a shared concern with the Sahel over security and the management of borders with Libya”.
She added: “For us, supporting cooperation with border countries to the south of Libya – such as Chad, which has experiences to share – is fundamental”.
Thare are no details as yet about discussions between Siala and Mogherini on the EU’s naval Operation Sophia which this week was authorised by the UN Security Council to expand its counter-human trafficking tasks. This will now include stop and search operations of vessels on the high seas in the Mediterranean suspected of smuggling weapons in and out of Libya.
Training for the planned presidential guard and other financial aid as well as a new Libyan ambassador to the EU were also due to be discussed today between Siala and Mogherini. The current ambassador Farida Allaghi submitted her resignation a month ago.
Meanwhile, Belgium said it was willing to provide Libya with training and technical assistance in a range of areas including security and the military but also for various civil sectors. This was agreed in talks between Siala and his Belgian counterpart, Didier Reynders.
Both also stressed the importance of fighting terrorism and of further developing relations between the two countries.