PARIS – France wants to work with Libya against militant groups on its territory but will not take military action in the country without UN backing, President Francois Hollande said on Friday.
Asked about media reports of France preparing an intervention against Islamist groups in southern Libya, Hollande told interviewers from broadcasters France 24, RFI and TV5Monde there were no plans in the works.
“There are rules for any French intervention. We intervene when we have legitimacy from UN resolutions and in no other cases,” Hollande said, adding: “We have not been called on by Libyan authorities.”
Hollande said France would nonetheless “support all efforts by Libyan authorities to fight against terrorism,” adding that it was “likely” that militant groups in Libya were behind two recent suicide attacks in Niger, including one at a French-run uranium mine.
French Foreign Ministry spokesman Philippe Lalliot meanwhile said Paris would be announcing new security cooperation measures with Libya in the coming days.
“There is a security problem in Libya, the Libyan authorities are very aware of this and very much want to quickly remedy it,” Lalliot said, adding that France was ready to help with increased “training, advice and equipment”.
France sent troops earlier this year to Mali to oust Islamist rebels who had seized control of the country’s vast desert north.
Middle East Online
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