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NATO ready to help Libya ‘if requested’

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has hailed on Wednesday the efforts of the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) led by Fayez Al-Sarraj, noting that NATO is ready to help build Libyan military, defence and intelligence capabilities “if requested”.

In a press conference held with Al-Sarraj in Brussels, Stoltenberg said that he is pleased to continue dialogue with the Libyan premier, noting that past cooperation between the two sides led to progress “in the fight against radical groups… as [Daesh] has been driven out of its former stronghold of Sirte.”

He continued: “I commend you [Al-Sarraj] for your efforts to ensure an inclusive political process in Libya. This is important for your country’s long-term stability.”

Stoltenberg reiterated that “Libya continues to face serious political and security challenges” for which, NATO is looking for an “urgent” political solution based on the implementation of the Libyan Political Agreement.

Stoltenberg also said that NATO supports the GNA government “as the sole representative of the Libyan people,” noting that “NATO stands ready to assist Libya in building effective security and defence institutions” in order to strengthen Tripoli’s “ability to fight terrorism and create conditions for peace.”

He reiterated that NATO “could offer advice on establishing a modern ministry of defence, a joint military staff, and security and intelligence services under civilian control.”

Meanwhile, he said : “If requested, we could also support the efforts of the European Union to strengthen the Libyan Coast Guard and Navy.  This could help keep the Mediterranean free from smuggling and terrorist activity – a strategic priority both for NATO and our partners in North Africa.”

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