Tuesday, May 02, 2017

An Unstable Libya Wont Stop Migrants Says Austrian Foreign Minister
By Libya Herald reporters
Sebastian Kurz listens to his Libyan counterpart Mohamed Siala (Photo: PC)
Tripoli, 1 May 2017:

Libya can only tackle illegal migration to Europe effectively once it has political and economic stability, Austria’s foreign minister Sebastian Kurz has warned.

“I am well aware of the disastrous political and economic situation of the country” said Kurz today in Tripoli. He was in the capital to meet Presidency Council (PC) head Faiez Serraz, his deputy Ahmed Maetig and Government of National Accord foreign minister Mohamed Siala. He said hoped that his one-day visit would signal the strength of Austria’s support for the PC .

He insisted that Libya was an important partner for the EU, especially when it came to the migrant crisis. He added however that cooperation with the Libyan government was difficult because the country was riven by civil wars and power struggles.

Kurz travelled with a party of Austrian businessmen. Among them was a team from oil firm OMV headed by its CEO Rainer Seele, which headed for a meeting with  National Oil Corporation (NOC) boss Mustafa Sanalla.

OMV has been making it clear that it wants to expand its Libya operations. It has just bought out Occidental Petroleum’s seven percent stake in the Nafoura field. Today was the third meeting this year between Sanalla and Seele. The Austrian executive was in Tripoli  in February and had also met Sanalla the month before in Vienna.

Today the Austrian foreign minister told Serraj that the best way to stem the migrant tide was to secure Libya’s southern borders. Kurz also said he was extremely concerned at the humanitarian crisis in Libya and pledged €1 million in aid.

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