The foreign ministers of Italy, France, and Germany have conducted a mission to Tripoli to show support for the national unity government under new prime minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh. They have called for change in several areas -- including respect for human rights in migration management.
The foreign ministers of Italy, France, and Germany are coordinating their efforts to show the EU's support for the national unity government and its management of the migration issue in Libya.
Italy's Luigi Di Maio, France's Jean-Yves Le Drian, and Germany's Heiko Maas traveled in Tripoli as part diplomatic mission on March 25 to express what Maas referred to as a desire "to show that we Europeans are united and determined at Libya's side."
Italy's Di Maio meanwhile said that "our presence in Tripoli bears witness to the unity of intentions of the EU nations most involved in the stabilisation of Libya," adding that Europe wanted to "remain alongside the Libyan population and support it in its path towards peace."
Identifying first steps to be taken
The foreign ministers discussed various issues with Libyan foreign minister Najla al-Mangoush focused on the stabilisation of the country. A key factor identified in that context was the "withdrawal of foreign mercenaries and militias present in the country," which the European ministers and their Libya counterpart all agreed was a decisive step to be taken.Mangoush stressed that this had to take place "immediately."
"The departure of the mercenaries is essential for the Libyan state to assert its sovereignty," French foreign minister Le Drian said added, while Di Maio said that this withdrawal and a UN monitoring mission for the ceasefire would be part of the ensuing priorities in the cooperation between Europe and Libya.
Another central issue to ensure that the ceasefire in Libya holds is an arms embargo, the Italian foreign minister noted, saying that he was willing to step up efforts starting with training of Libya's Coast Guard and Navy, as specified by the EU mission IRINI. Both France and Germany are also part of that initiative.
Italian foreign minister Luigi Di Maio also noted that, for Italy, Libya remained "fundamental" for ensuring "our national security and geostrategic interests."
To this end, Italian prime minister Mario Draghi will also be visiting Libya on April 6 and 7.
Migrants remain 'decisive issue for Italy'
Migration remains a key issue for Italy, as the country continues to be affected disproportionately by the arrival of irregular migrants at its shores.
"Our cooperation with Libya is fundamental also as part of the irregular migration flow management. We apreciate the efforts of the Libyan authorities in the fight against human trafficking and in guarding sea borders," said Italian foreign minister Luigi Di Maio, adding that at the same time, "we are expecting that maximum efforts be exerted to ensure respect for basic human rights."
"I would like to confirm Italy's commitment, including within the framework of EU actions, to supporting Libya in migration management and in humanitarian assistance for migrants and refugees."
EU involved in Libya stabilisation
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell meanwhile called Prime Minister Dbeibeh to say that he welcomed the efforts to restore national unity, adding that the EU was prepared to intensify its cooperation with the new government.
He said that the reopening on Monday of the French embassy in Tripoli was also a sign of this.