25 February 2013

Libya: Nation Seeks Help in Securing Borders

Tripoli — Libyan authorities seek international assistance in an effort to establish security and the rule of law.

Libya wants to secure its borders, build a national army and set up a police force. Now the country's leaders are looking for outside help to make it happen.

Italy, France, the United States, Britain, and India have put forth proposals to help Libya secure its borders and maintain order, Prime Minister Ali Zidan said on Thursday (February 21st). Libya and Turkey were already co-operating in terms of training, defence and security equipment.

"We're committed to reaching the best," the premier said.

With its 3,000 kilometres of land borders, Libya is determined to thwart traffickers and terrorists from taking advantage of the country's terrain.

Libya will be working with other countries to co-ordinate ways to secure its southern borders, as agreed upon during the February 16th Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD) summit, Zidan said.

"We have discussed... border security with the French President," Prime Minister Zidan told reporters after meeting with Francois Hollande in Paris on February 13th.

Meanwhile, the Friends of Libya met in Paris on February 12th and pledged security support to the country's nascent democratic government.

"Much has already been achieved but issues remain," French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said in his opening address to the gathering.

International partners should send "experts to train Libyan security forces and police, and help to rebuild the army, navy and air force", he added.

The partners confirmed their full support for the interim government in its determination to implement a plan to enhance national security, boost justice and rule of law, and build a democratic, prosperous and stable state.

Libya's Foreign Minister Mohammed Abdel Aziz told the Paris event that Libya did not need troops, but training.

"What we're asking of our international partners is to help us with training and rehabilitation, and the transfer of advanced technology to protect our long borders and shores," he said.

The Friends of Libya welcomed the EU decision to send a civil mission from the European Common Security and Defence Policy by June 2013 to help manage the border.

"Controlling the border will spare Libya a lot of problems, especially arms smuggling and the smuggling of Africans to Europe, which Kadhafi was using to pressure Europe," journalist Miftah Belaid said.

"We're suffering from these border-related problems, especially from the entry of drugs... The assistance from the West to is a step to help build the new, free Libya," civil servant Kamela Ali said.

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