NATO reaffirms commitment to assist Libya at Rome Conference

  • 06 Mar. 2014 -
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  • Last updated: 06 Mar. 2014 17:20

The Alliance stands ready to help advise Libyan authorities in developing a national security strategy and strengthening their defence institutions, NATO Deputy Secretary General Ambassador Alexander Vershbow said Thursday's (6 March 2014) at the Ministerial Conference on Libya in Rome. ''Libya has already come a long way. But there is still much to do. First and foremost by the people of Libya themselves and especially by their political leaders,'' stressed Ambassador Vershbow. ''NATO stands ready to help in areas where the Libyan Government needs our help and where we can add value.''

The conference discussed the coordination of international efforts to help Libya and included foreign ministers, representatives from international organisations and a high level delegation from Libya led by Prime Minister Ali Zeidan. The Deputy Secretary General said that NATO’s first objective will be to advise the Libyan authorities on the establishment of the necessary structures, processes and arrangements to enable them to develop a national security strategy. “We could then also give advice on the adaptation of Libya’s existing security architecture to make sure that is compatible with the new policy framework,” Ambassador Vershbow said. He underlined, however, that NATO’s advisory mission will “not seek to establish a full-time presence on the ground in Libya.  And that we will continue to conduct our advisory work in full coordination with the efforts of other national and international actors, including the United Nations Support Mission to Libya (UNSMIL) and the European Border Assistance Mission (EUBAM).”

Allies agreed last October to respond positively to a request made by the Libyan Prime Minister for NATO to provide advice on defence institution building in Libya, as part of the overall efforts of the international community. A small advisory team is currently being put together to conduct this effort. Three years ago, NATO fulfilled a historical mandate to protect the people of Libya. It did so through Operation Unified Protector. The operation was conducted under a resolution from the United Nations Security Council. NATO has developed a unique expertise in defence reform and security institution building, including the development of efficient and effective defence structures that are under civilian oversight and democratic control.

During the Conference in Rome, the NATO Deputy Secretary General met with the Prime Minister of Libya and held talks with high level representatives from NATO and Middle Eastern countries and other international organizations.