EU to Partner Libya in the fight against IS

The European Union (EU) is to partner with the newly formed Libyan government to fight the Islamic State (IS) in Libya, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini announced on Friday.

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Some Libya Dawn fighters shoot their guns near Libya's capital city of Tripoli, on March 11, 2015. Clashes erupted on Wednesday between Libya Dawn militants and pro-government forces in the Ajaylat area some 80 kilometers west of Tripoli. (Xinhua/Hamza Turkia)

“The best condition to fight against Daesh (Islamic State) in Libya is to count on the government of National Accord to be in place and to work in partnership with them,” Mogherini told the press after an informal meeting of the EU’s foreign affairs council.

Some Libya Dawn fighters shoot their guns near Libya's capital city of Tripoli, on March 11, 2015. Clashes erupted on Wednesday between Libya Dawn militants and pro-government forces in the Ajaylat area some 80 kilometers west of Tripoli. (Xinhua/Hamza Turkia)
Some Libya Dawn fighters shoot their guns near Libya’s capital city of Tripoli, on March 11, 2015. Clashes erupted on Wednesday between Libya Dawn militants and pro-government forces in the Ajaylat area some 80 kilometers west of Tripoli. (Xinhua/Hamza Turkia)
A new unity government under a plan backed by the United Nations was formed in Libya mid January. Headed by Fayez Al-Serraj, the new government comprises 32 ministers and four deputies to the prime minister. It will assume its powers after the House of Representatives’ approval.

“The 28 member states of the EU all stated very clearly that we are ready to provide all the potential possible support to the (Libyan) government including in the security sector,” said Mogherini, adding “This is going to be discussed, debated and decided together with the Libyans.”

The EU has also started to discuss the possibility of reviewing the mandate of “Operation Sophia” with the Libyans, she added.

“Operation Sophia” is the EU anti-migrant smuggling operation in the Mediterranean Sea. It aims to seize vessels on the high seas suspected of being used for human smuggling and trafficking. Its operations could take place in the territorial waters of Libya and coercive actions against the smugglers could take place on Libyan soil.

“Operation Sophia could move to the next phase — phase 3 — in the moment when the Libyan authorities might find it useful to go into this cooperation,” said Mogherini.

Also on Friday, EU foreign affairs ministers had a joint working lunch with their defense colleagues in Amsterdam where most of the Dutch EU presidency activities take place. The Netherlands holds the rotating presidency of the EU from January to June 2016. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

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