Libya FM: We Stopped Flow of Weapons Across Sahara, Calls for UN Force for Mali 25/01/2013 22:20:00
Libya's foreign minister Mohamed Abdulaziz
Libya has stopped the flow of weapons across the Sahara desert that took place during the Libyan uprising and its immediate aftermath, but it is important that the UN thinks of a force drawn from neighbouring countries to help Mali after current crisis, Libyan Foreign Minister Mohamed Abdulaziz said.
“We have no further intelligence of the smuggling of weapons. There is absolutely no indication of weapons flowing to Mali,” the Libyan FM said on Thursday. He also warned that extremists across the Sahel region could be networking with other terrorists especially the ones in Afghanistan.
Abdulaziz, who was attending an African Union (AU) foreign ministers meeting to prepare for the AU summit, said it is imperative that the international community continue supporting Mali and UN peacekeepers should be deployed in Mali once a French-led offensive against al-Qaeda backed militants is over.
Abdul Aziz who is also a former experienced UN diplomat who served in Bosnia in the 1990s said "our vision is that when the operation ends, the Security Council should consider deploying a limited peacekeeping force in the area."
He said the peacekeepers should be part of a broader military exit strategy which he referred as "preventive diplomacy" and called on Western governments to start thinking about it seriously.
"If there is no preventive diplomacy... it will be very difficult to sustain security in the area," Abdul Aziz said.
"We know that if the situation in Mali deteriorates, it will have serious consequences in Libya," the minister was quoted saying.
He added that, “strategically what those extremists want is to expand the operation in other areas, in neighbouring countries to divert attention from northern Mali."
Any UN peacekeeping force would need to be drawn from neighbouring countries, Abdulaziz said.
He also warned that the military operation to restore state power in northern Mali must be carried out within the shortest possible time, to avoid complicating the fragile security situation across the North African region.
"You can't secure an area without its own people and therefore the engagement of neighboring countries in a peacekeeping operation is a must," he said.
He stressed that curbing the extremist threat across the region would require stricter border controls, especially along the 4,500-km Algerian-Malian border.
"There is the networking of the extremists and it is not confined to the Sahel. It has the Afghan connection, security is essential across the borders to limit their influence," the minister said.
Abdulaziz said the Libyan authorities were saddened by the Algerian crisis and were particularly worried that such situations could reoccur with deadly consequences if the security situation in Mali is not controlled.
"There is no information that Libyans were involved. The extremists want to expand to other areas. We are observing the situation," Abdul Aziz was quoted saying by the Pan-African News Agency, PANA on Thursday.
The minister said to effectively control the extremist threat, the European Union and the US, through its African Command, AFRICOM, should invest in other security aspects to stop possible flow of arms, including engaging tribal elders and connections.
Comment: blah, blah, blah....besides being incredibly vague I'd be curious to know what Abdulaziz knows about Libya besides Tripoli & its immediate surroundings. He's obviously clueless as to whats taking place in Benghazi & the rest of Libya so for him to make some blanket statement about Libya's security is beyond laughable
MEED, BM Libya Announce Projects 2013 Conference June 3-5 in Tripoli In a few days' time, June 3-5, MEED and BM Libya will be organising a three-day conference at the Corinthia Hotel in Tripoli, titled Libya Projects 2013. The event, that is to be held under the patronage of the General National Congress of Libya is aimed at highlighting the key developments, opportunities and projects in Libya across various critical industries with involvement from around 300 key individuals.
Maltese PM Meets Muslim Community, Promises Government Help During a visit to the Mariam Al-Batool school at the Islamic Centre in Paola, Maltese Prime Minister Dr Joseph Muscat confirmed to the Muslim community that the government will stick to its promise of wavering a €400,000 loan granted to the school when it was facing financial difficulties. He said the government has initiated the process to issue the formal waiver