EU needs ‘official request’ to intervene against ISIS in Libya

Friday 19/02/2016
Next few days will be ‘crucial’ for Libya

PARIS - Europe will only intervene in war-torn Libya against Islamic State jihadists if it receives an official request from a legitimate government, the EU's foreign policy chief told a French newspaper in an interview published Sunday.
"Defeating Daesh effectively can only happen through a legitimate Libyan government in charge of its own security," the EU's top diplomat Frederica Mogherini told Journal du Dimanche.
She used the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State (ISIS) group, which has been gaining ground in Libya amid the unrest that has gripped the country since longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi was ousted in 2011.
The US has been carrying out strikes against ISIS in the lawless North African country, but has faced consternation over claims one of its raids against the jihadists killed two Serbian hostages along with dozens of others.
Adding to the chaos, the country has had rival administrations since 2014 when a militia alliance, including Islamists, overran the capital and forced the internationally recognised government to flee to the east.
After months of UN-brokered talks, both sides have now agreed to back a unity government and on Saturday prime minister-designate Fayez al-Sarraj presented his plans for the new administration.
Mogherini said the next few days would be "crucial" for Libya ahead of a confidence vote in parliament on Tuesday, and said Europe stood ready to provide help with security and administration if needed.
"We have supported efforts to create a national unity government for months," she said. "If we want to help them, we should trust them because they know their country better than we do."