25th Mar 2018

Mali blames West for chaos in Libya

Mali blames "external intervention" for the chaos that reigns throughout Libya given the Nato-led bombing campaign in 2011.

Abdoulaye Diop, Malian minister of foreign affairs, on Wednesday (22 November) said the raids were "carried out without a strategic vision, without a plan, and without the ability to manage the consequences."

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The bombing campaign included French and British sorties that helped topple the dictatorship under Muammar Gaddafi.

Libya has since become the main staging point of migratory flows towards Europe, is home to some 1,500 armed militia groups, and is host to open slave auctions.

Addressing the European Parliament and the EU's foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, Diop said it was impossible to cooperate with the Libyan state "because the only people we have to cooperate with are militias."

He then demanded €500 million to prop up a joint military force between Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger, also known as the G5 Sahel.

"We got around €160 million so far," he said.

The EU has also already donated some €50 million to the joint military force amid announcements by Mogherini of a Brussels conference to raise even more money.

Without announcing a date, Mogherini said the Brussels conference would raise both "financial and military" support to the joint task force.

She also noted European missions in Africa have so far trained some 30,000 African soldiers, policemen and judges.

Prosecuting Libyans for crimes against migrants

But the chaos in Libya and the lack of viable state structures remains a major issue for a European Union aiming to grapple the migration routes.

Mogherini announced that Libyan detention centres must be shut down and said she would be asking Libyan authorities to prosecute people who have committed crimes against migrants.

"We will be asking the Libyan authorities to prosecute those responsible for such crimes," she said.

Asked which authorities - given the weak UN-backed government in Tripoli - Mogherini said the EU is using diplomacy in an effort to unite the country and create new institutions.

"We cannot forget, underestimate that Libyans are suffering enormously in their own country for several years now and actually even before," she told this website.

An internal report from the EU's border mission for Libya (Eubam) earlier this year said state institutions like the ministry of interior, in charge of border management and migration, are riddled with "militias and religiously-motivated stakeholders".

Similar comments were made by Moussa Faki Mahamat, who chairs the African Union.

Speaking alongside Mogherini in joint press conference, he said the African Union has launched an investigation into slavery and migrant abuse in Libya.

"At the moment, there is no state, there are no rights, there are no laws in Libya," he said.

The investigation, he said, would include the help of people on the ground in Libya along with the support of the UN and EU.

"I think we need to work on a priority basis, first of all to save people, secondly start up investigations and then only prosecute using the instrument that we have at our disposal," he said.

The talks at the European Parliament come ahead of an EU-Africa summit set to take place next week in Abidjan.

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The EU trains the Libyan coastguard and set up a monitoring mechanism to ensure they respect the human rights of migrants. But the mechanism only requires Libyans to file reports about themselves.


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