Western — 20 April 2016

Apr 20, 2016 | International actors

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond visited Tripoli on 18 April to meet with the Government of National Accord (GNA), pledging £10 million in support to help train Libyan state institutions. Hammond has also suggested that the UK would be ready to contribute to an international coalition to train the Libyan National Army. Speaking at the British House of Commons on 19 April, Hammond said ISIS was currently “thin on the ground” in Libya and that, “There are many pointers that now is the time to move against them.” He added, “I can envisage Prime Minister Sarraj, if his government is successful, being able to muster enough ground forces to mount an attack on the Daesh stronghold around Sirte. It is certainly the case that the Libyans will not be able to develop either naval or air assets in any reasonable period of time to support such an operation, and indeed it is quite possible that from a military point of view they would seek assistance from outside.”

The EU formally declared its official recognition of the GNA as Libya’s legitimate government on 19 April. GNA Prime Minister Sarraj video conferenced with EU foreign and defence ministers the same day, calling appeal for robust support in the fight against ISIS in Libya. At a news conference following the session, EU Foreign Minister Federic Mogherini said that the EU was ready to provide €100 million in financial aid to the GNA. Meanwhile, the US expanded its powers to impose punitive sanctions against people or groups that the US believes are undermining the GNA and the UN-backed peace process. As part of the expanded authority in a White House executive order, the US sanctioned Khalifa Ghweil, acting prime minister and defence minister of Libya’s National Salvation Government. The Treasury Department also said, “Today’s action also complements the European Union’s designation of Ghweil on April 1, 2016 for undermining the political transition in Libya.