February 24, 2015 / 6:23 PM / 3 years ago

France and Italy call for accord among Libyan factions

PARIS (Reuters) - Italy and France called on Tuesday for an accord among warring factions in Libya and said the world could not ignore near-anarchy there which was undermining regional security and feeding a growing migrant crisis.

Speaking at a news conference with French President Francois Hollande, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said the two leaders agreed Libya “must be a priority of the international community and not a problem to delegate to a single European country”.

But he added: “Today there are no plans for a peacekeeping mission also because the technical and logistical conditions are not right.”

Italy, whose southern islands are only around 300 km (180 miles) from the Libyan coast, has warned repeatedly of the threat to Europe from the breakdown of order in Libya, where two rival governments are battling for control.

Hundreds of thousands of migrants have arrived in unsafe boats run by people-smugglers operating from Libya and more than 300 died earlier this month while attempting the crossing.

The surge in arrivals so far this year and the spread of Islamic State militants who have threatened to spread a campaign of violence to Europe has heightened security fears.

“France supports the efforts of Italy to find a solution at the highest level, that’s to say the United Nations, to a situation of chaos and terrorism,” Hollande told reporters after the meeting with Renzi.

“The first requirement is to find a political accord between the different factions and to ensure that there can be one government, one parliament and one central bank.”

France has more than 3,000 troops in the Sahel region as part of a counter-insurgency force that tracks al Qaeda militants from southern Libya to Mauritania.

It has ruled out intervening in Libya on its own, but repeatedly warned that at some point Islamist militants in the country will have to be tackled.

France and Italy have called for the European Union’s border control mission Triton to be reinforced and both pledge to step up frontier checks as well as boosting cooperation against extremist propaganda.

Reporting by Alexandria Sage; writing by Steve Scherer; editing by Andrew Roche

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