By Libya Herald staff.
Paris, 9 September 2014:
A French call for joint action with other European states to bring about peace in . . .[restrict]Libya and stamp out terrorists is unlikely to result in any direct military action, the Libya Herald has been told.
The call was made by France’s Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in an interview in the French daily Le Figaro yesterday in which he said Libya had become a “hub for terrorist groups”. France, he said, had to act “in Libya and mobilise the international community”, adding that French troops could be moved to Libya’s borders. Libya, he said, would be on the agenda at two-day meeting of European defence ministers in Milan which starts today.
His statement follows a call last month by French President François Hollande for UN intervention in Libya. Without it, the president said, “terrorism will spread across the region”.
Italian officials, however, have told this newspaper that any European action on Libya “will not be military. It will be diplomatic”.
The Milan meeting is being organised by Italy, the current holder of the EU presidency, and although the Italians are as keen to discuss Libya as the French their immediate military objectives are to ensure that there is joint European naval action to deal with soaring numbers of migrants heading to the country from Libyan ports, particularly Zuwara.
Last month, Italy managed to obtain agreement from the EU that it would help it deal with the issue by providing both planes and boats as well as money. The details still have to be worked out and will require the active involvement of other European navies and defence ministries.
The Milan meeting is expected to address those details. [/restrict]