France has expressed its willingness to help Libya’s new unity government with maritime security as the fledgling administration seeks to assert its authority over the chaos-wracked country, reports AFP.
"We must wait for [Libyan] Prime Minister [Fayez Sarraj] to tell us what security measures should be taken and what he intends to get from the international community to ensure the maritime security of Libya," French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said.
On Monday, it was agreed at a meeting of US, UK, French, German and Italian leaders in Hanover that there is an urgent need to provide support to Libya amid the threat posed by Daesh terrorist group and criminal smuggling networks destabilizing the country.
The EU is concerned by the Islamic State group's expansion in Libya, and also by a new increase in migrant arrivals in Italy from Libya since the start of spring.
Libya has been in a state of turmoil since the uprising of February 2011, which later led to a civil war and the overthrow of the country’s longtime leader, Muammar Gaddafi.
The European Union Naval Force Mediterranean (EU Navfor Med) operation was launched in the wake of the April 2015 Libyan migrant shipwreck incidents, with the aim of eliminating refugee smuggling routes in the Mediterranean. Currently, the operation is mandated to operate only in international waters.
NATO is now three months away from launching its own patrols off Libya as part of a plan to stop migrants arriving in Italy, Italian Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti said. This mission will be approved during the July 7 NATO Summit in Warsaw and will be integrated in a broader plan to close the western sea route to Europe and to return economic migrants to their country.