By Libya Herald reporters.
Tripoli, 1 May 2017:
Libya can only tackle illegal migration to Europe effectively once it has political and economic stability, Austria’s foreign minister Sebastian Kurz has warned.
“I am well aware of the disastrous political and economic situation of the country,” said Kurz today in Tripoli. He was in the capital to meet Presidency Council (PC) head Faiez Serraz, his deputy Ahmed Maetig and Government of National Accord foreign minister Mohamed Siala. He said hoped that his one-day visit would signal the strength of Austria’s support for the PC .
He insisted that Libya was an important partner for the EU, especially when it came to the migrant crisis. He added, however, that cooperation with the Libyan government was difficult because the country was riven by civil war and power struggles.
The Austrian foreign minister also told Serraj that the best way to stem the migrant tide was to secure Libya’s southern borders. Kurz further said he was extremely concerned at the humanitarian crisis in Libya and pledged €1 million in aid.
Kurz travelled with a party of Austrian businessmen. Among them was a team from oil firm OMV headed by its CEO Rainer Seele, which met with senior officials at the National Oil Corporation (NOC).
OMV has been making it clear that it wants to expand its Libya operations. It has just bought out Occidental Petroleum’s seven percent stake in the Nafoura field. .
This article has been updated with the confirmation that an OMV team was in the Austrian foreign minister’s party