Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš met with his Libyan counterpart Fayez Sarraj in Prague and showed support to his cabinet in Tripoli, which is officially recognized as the Libyan government by the UN. Babiš also expressed his hopes that the EU will be more active in helping Libya tackle illegal migration.
“I assured Mr. Sarraj that the Czech Republic fully supports his internationally recognized Government of National Accord, just as it supports the UN reconciliation efforts in the country,” said Babiš. Libya fell into chaos after the ousting of its long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Two rival governments are now trying to seize power, not to mention many armed groups.
Babiš said that the V4 countries pledged to provide Libya with 35 million EUR last year to strengthen capacities of its coast guard. Even though the Czech Republic has already paid its share, only now the selection procedure for coast guard ships organized by the European Commission is underway. I’ll suggest to my V4 colleagues to organize a tender without the EU next time, as it would be faster and more effective, we must be more active, Babiš said.
According to Babiš, the EU needs to focus on supporting Libya more intensely, because most smugglers’ boats with migrants crossing the Mediterranean set off from Libya. Europe is occupied with Brexit and the upcoming elections, but solving the situation in Libya is very important for us regarding a systemic solution to illegal migration, Babiš added. He would like to discuss it at the next EU summit.
Around 800,000 illegal migrants from other African countries are now in Libya, noted Sarraj and added that Libya would welcome any support that can help to solve the problem of illegal migration.