News / Africa

Foreign Minister: Libya Needs Help to Secure Borders

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, right, addresses reporters during a joint press conference with his Libyan counterpart Mohamed Abdelaziz, left, at the end of a conference on Libya held at the foreign ministry in Paris, Feb. 12, 2013.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, right, addresses reporters during a joint press conference with his Libyan counterpart Mohamed Abdelaziz, left, at the end of a conference on Libya held at the foreign ministry in Paris, Feb. 12, 2013.
Reuters
Libya's Foreign Minister Mohammed Abdelaziz on Tuesday called for Western and Arab allies to help seal his country's borders to stop defeated Islamist rebels coming in from Mali and further destabilising the strife-hit oil producer.
    
Tripoli's government, already struggling to impose security two years after the overthrow of Moammar Gadhafi, is worried al-Qaida-linked fighters pushed out of Mali by a French-led offensive could seek refuge in its vast desert territory.
    
Several Islamist and separatist rebel groups have already taken advantage of the chaos surrounding the fighting in Mali, and the 'Arab Spring' overthrow of Gadhafi and other autocrats, to build up their arsenals and move freely back and forth over North and West Africa's unprotected borders.
    
x
The Malian crisis - where rebel groups seized the northern two-thirds of the country last year, raising fears they could turn it into a base for militant attacks - was itself in part triggered by an influx of tribal fighters originally armed in Libya.

"If we want to prevent them coming back, we have to seal the borders,'' Abdelaziz said after a meeting in Paris between the countries that helped oust Gadhafi.

France convened delegations from the United States, Britain, Arab nations, the United Nations and European Union to discuss ways to stabilize Libya, though nothing tangible appeared to have been decided.
    
Speaking to Reuters, Abdelaziz said he had received pledges from France, Britain, Turkey and other countries to provide technical support and equipment, but more needed to be done to secure his country's 4,000-km frontier.

"We cannot move trained people without technology that is developed enough for surveillance or to patrol the borders properly. We won't be able to secure them. We have to agree later on between those countries and us which services we have to pay for and which are the services that can be given to us for free," he said.
    
Abdelaziz said there was no evidence rebels had already left Mali and crossed into Libya via Algeria.

He also declined to give estimates of the cost of protecting the border. In 2009, fellow OPEC producer Saudi Arabia awarded a $1 billion contract to build a razor-wire fence along its 900-km frontier with Iraq.

Stable Libya, stable Europe

France's decision to send troops to its former colony Mali to help drive the rebels back last month has cranked up tensions in the region, with Islamist radicals vowing to strike back at French and Western interests.

Al-Qaeda-linked insurgents killed 38 mostly foreign hostages last month when they seized an Algerian gas plant as a riposte to France's intervention. Some of those fighters had entered Algeria from southern Libya.
    
''We're all convinced that the question of security is for all these neighboring countries," French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said at the meeting in Paris. ''By helping Libya's security we are helping our security."

European countries, which are due to send a border management mission to Libya by June, are also concerned about security within the country.

They urged their nationals to leave Libya's eastern city of Benghazi on Jan. 24 after Britain cited a ''specific and imminent`` threat to Westerners days after the Algerian attack.
    
The call to leave Libya's second largest city irked Libyans keen to win foreign investment to rebuild a fractured infrastructure and boost the oil industry after the revolution.

You May Like

Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Seen as a potential driver of recovery, Cairo’s plan to expand waterway had been raising hopes to give country much needed economic boost More

Ebola Maternity Ward in Sierra Leone First of its Kind

Country already had one of world's highest maternal mortality rates before Ebola arrived, virus has added even more complications to health care More

Malaysia Flight 370 Disappearance Ruled Accident

Aircraft disappeared on March 8, 2014; with ruling, families of 239 passengers and crew can now seek compensation from airline More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Productioni
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Production

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid