France to host meeting on Libyan security next week

Tue Feb 5, 2013 11:49am EST
 
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By John Irish

PARIS (Reuters) - Countries that helped oust Muammar Gaddafi will meet in Paris next week to discuss how to stabilize Libya, which has been beset by security problems since the late dictator was toppled, French sources said on Tuesday.

France, which led international efforts to oust Gaddafi, will convene ministers and senior diplomats from the United States, Britain, Arab nations, the United Nations and European Union to Tuesday's meeting in Paris.

The French foreign ministry said the agenda would include "security co-operation, the legal system and the rule of law".

Libya and foreign diplomats fear an exodus of Malian and foreign Islamist fighters following a French-led intervention in Mali. Unless Mali's porous borders are secured, weapons smuggling will also pose a threat.

"The Libyan security situation is a real subject of concern for its neighbors and the countries that helped the transition," a French diplomatic source said.

"We need to help the Libyans gain the tools for their own security. It's a difficult situation because they need to rebuild everything for the state."

French forces have been attacking Islamist rebels in Mali for three weeks as African troops assemble ahead of a U.N.-backed campaign to oust insurgents who seized control of northern Mali in April.

The military operation in the former French colony has cranked up tensions in North Africa, with Islamist radicals vowing to strike back at French and Western interests.   Continued...

 
People look at the wreckage of a police car after an attack, in Benghazi January 14, 2013. REUTERS/Esam Al-Fetori