Thursday, January 30, 2014

France Pulls Back on Ground Intervention in Libya

No possibility of intervention in Libya, says France

By Hadi Fornaji.
Tripoli, 29 January 2014:

France has firmly rebuffed suggestions that it should join an international force and intervene in the south of Libya to end instability there and prevent it becoming a regional base for Al Qaeda.

On Monday, the France’s Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Edouard Guillaud stunned the French government, shocked Libyans, and angered French companies doing business in Libya by stating at a press conference that an international operation should be mounted to put an end to instability in the south of the country.

Reaffirming French policy towards Libya, the French Foreign Ministry today put out a statement saying that “no military intervention is envisaged there”. The only way to reestablish security in Libya was by strengthening Libyan security forces, a French Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

He was speaking in response to a question whether France would take part in a new international operation in Libya.

He pointed out that, far from envisaging an international force being sent to Libya, France was collaborating with the Libyan authorities and its international partners on helping the country itself build up its security. France was merely helping. It was ready to train a thousand Libyan policemen and, separately, an EU mission was already in Libya to advise and train officials on border security, particularly in the south.

The spokesman added that France hoped that the Libya security conference planned in Rome in March would see the international community mobilise to help the Libyan authorities reestablish security throughout the country.

Admiral Guillaud headed the France’s involvement in the international operation to help remove the Qaddafi regime. He retires on 15 February.

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