By Jamie Prentis.
Tunis, 1 February 2016:
Presidency Council head Faiez Serraj has suggested NATO ships could be allowed to operate in Libyan waters if they helped the navy combat people-smugglers.
He told reporters in Brussels that any “party” that seeks to work with and support the Libyan navy would be welcomed.
“We have to modernise our navy flotilla and enhance its capacities” he said, “NATO or any other friendly national on a bilateral basis could extend a hand in this.”
During a joint press conference with NATO secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg, Serraj said that because of NATO’s extensive expertise and experience, possible cooperation would boost the chances that Libya could combat terrorism, illegal immigration and smuggling.
He insisted that the PC continued to work to unify all of Libya’s militias into a single military establishment that operated under the political leadership.
Stoltenberg offered his support, telling Serraj: “NATO stands ready to assist Libya in building effective security and defence conditions, strengthening your ability to fight terrorism and create conditions for peace.”
He suggested NATO could offer advice on establishing a modern defence ministry, a joint military staff and security and intelligence services under civilian control.
The NATO Secretary-General also applauded Libya’s drive to oust the IS terrorists from the country.
Tomorrow, on his second day in Brussels, Serraj will hold talks with the president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, European Commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker and EU foreign affairs chief, Federica Mogherini. Serraj spoke to Mogherini two weeks ago and she then invited him to visit Brussels.