Joint press point

with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the Prime Minister of Libya, Fayez al-Sarraj

  • 22 Jun. 2017 -
  • |
  • Last updated: 22 Jun. 2017 10:23

(As delivered)

Joint press point with the Prime Minister of Libya, Fayez al-Sarraj and  NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg

Prime Minister al-Sarraj, welcome back to NATO. It’s great to see you again and we just finished a very productive and good meeting. You were here in February and I was very pleased to continue our dialogue today.

NATO supports your government as the sole representative of the Libyan people.

Today, we discussed the security situation in Libya and the many challenges you face. I congratulate you on your progress in the fight against radical groups in your country and commend you for your inclusive approach to the political situation in Libya. It is essential that all parties abide by the Libyan Political Agreement in finding a political solution to the crisis I your country.

NATO has agreed to help Libya as you work to stabilise your country. A team of NATO experts recently met with representatives of your government, to discuss what we can do to help you build effective defence and security institutions in Libya. Including a modern ministry of defence, a joint military staff, and intelligence services under civilian control. This will assist you in the fight against terrorism and help create the conditions for sustainable peace.

Off the coast of Libya, NATO’s Operation Sea Guardian is supporting the EU’s Operation Sophia in the Mediterranean Sea, providing information and logistical support. So this is also an example of how NATO is active in the region and helps to address the security challenges we see in the region.

So once again, Prime Minister al-Sarraj, it’s a great honour to have you here and always a great pleasure to meet you and welcome to NATO Headquarters. Thank you.

Al Arabiya: Many times NATO has expressed its availability to assist Libya and it has a lot of expertise. Did you manage to get some concrete steps, a timetable, because Mr. Sarraj expressed his needs as soon as possible?

Secretary General: NATO has long experience and tried and tested structures when it comes to helping to build local capacity, to build defence and security institutions. We have done that in many different countries, under very different circumstances. We have done it in the Balkans, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and in Kosovo. We have done it in different partner countries in North Africa, including Tunisia. We worked with Jordan in the Middle East. We have of course helped to build defence and security institutions in Afghanistan where we have a significant military presence. So NATO has in many different ways helped over the years to build the local capacity. And therefore we have the experience, we have the knowledge about also how to do it in Libya. And actually some years ago, until after 2011, NATO was engaged in preparing a programme to help build defence institutions in Libya. But the security situation made it impossible to continue. Now we have agreed in a way to restart those efforts. An expert team from NATO met with experts from the Government of National Accord, in Tunisia, some weeks ago. And we spoke on the phone, Prime Minister al-Sarraj and I, and we meet again today. And the main purpose of the meeting today was to make sure our experts will sit down as soon as possible, hopefully within a few weeks, and then go through the specific elements in a defence and capacity building package, addressing issues like how to develop a modern Ministry of Defence, how to build joint Chiefs of Staff, and also to develop intelligence services, and all this under political control. And that’s exactly what we now are looking into, how we can make sure that happens as soon as possible. And I hope that our expert teams can meet soon.