EU foreign policy chief Josep Borell (L) with Libyan Foreign Minister Najla el-Mangoush (R) during a news conference in Tripoli on September 8, 2021 | Photo: ANSA
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borell (L) with Libyan Foreign Minister Najla el-Mangoush (R) during a news conference in Tripoli on September 8, 2021 | Photo: ANSA

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell visited Libya on Wednesday. He said that he hopes that more political stability in the country will make it "easier to find more humane solutions for migrants."

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell visited Libya on Wednesday (September 8), where he reportedly called for the implementation of the ceasefire agreement and compliance with the roadmap for elections at the end of the year.

Borrell met with senior political officials during his second visit to the North African country this year.

"My message is clear: Libya is an important neighbor of the EU, and we support Libya and its people on the road to becoming a stable, peaceful and prosperous country," Borrell said.

Better treatment of migrants?

A main concern during Borrell's visit was migration. "With stabilization in the country, it will be easier to find more humane solutions for migrants," Borrell said. He added that "it is likely that migratory arrivals will continue in the coming months, although slightly decreased."

He said those benefiting from conflicts within Libya are "criminal gangs and human traffickers that exploit the desperate, sending them on a very risky journey across the Mediterranean."

Since 2011, Libya has experienced political and economic crisis and violent fighting. The country is a transit country for migrants and refugees hoping to reach Europe by crossing the Mediterreanean. At the same time, migrants and refugees face violent abuse and blackmail by traffickers and reportedly even some Libyan authorities, including coast guards.

The fact that both Italy and the European Union cooperate with Libyan coast guards is considered as extremely controversial and many NGOs have denounced this cooperation.

EU will support restructuring

Borrell said the EU is working to support Libya's ability to manage its borders, while also keeping an eye on other regions of Africa. Borrell announced the EU is "ready to help Libya to restructure its security forces and to provide, where necessary, training, upon request from the Libyans themselves."

He said at the same time, the EU is moving ahead in supporting efforts to implement the measures of the ceasefire agreement that "should include the withdrawal of foreign forces from the country."

Regarding the role that the various political and military actors should have in the future of the country, Borrell said that the Libyans must make those decisions: "The future direction of Libya and its representatives must be chosen by the Libyan people in a democratic process."

 

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