We'll train troops says Gentiloni
(By Denis Greenan). Vienna, May 16 – US Secretary of State John Kerry said at a joint press conference with Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni and Libyan Premier Fayez al-Sarraj after an international conference on Libya in Vienna Monday that “we will support the presidential council and will try to revoke the (arms) embargo and provide the necessary tools to counter-attack Daesh (ISIS)”. His co-chair Gentiloni said Italy would train Libyan troops and there would be no foreign intervention in Libya. Kerry said that “it is imperative that the international community should support the Sarraj government, which is the only legitimate one in Libya and which must now start to work”. Kerry thanked Italy for its commitment to Libya, a country for which “it has particular sensitivity”. Gentiloni said that “we are ready to train and equip the Libyan military forces as the Sarraj government asks us”. Gentiloni said that “we will try to reinforce the political accord, to fight against ISIS, including General (Khalifa) Haftar, but the full recognition is needed” of the national unity government. There will be no foreign intervention in Libya where the Libyans will fight ISIS terrorism, Gentiloni said. “The message that comes from Vienna today is that Libya remains united, divisions are not fuelled, Libyans will combat terrorism and there will be no foreign ground intervention”, he told SkyTg24, stressing that the international community had recognised that “the Sarraj government will be the protagonist of this process of stabilisation”. “The Libyan premier has been very clear in stressing the fact that it is the Libyans who must be in the front line to fight terrorism and human traffickers and we are ready to collaborate,” Gentiloni said. “They’re not asking for foreign intervention, but want to take on these responsibilities directly”. Gentiloni said he was “certain that, having set up a few days ago the Presidential Guard, supposed to be a first core of Libyan military forces, in the next few weeks they will ask us to collaborate on training and if they ask us we are certainly ready to collaborate”. The final document from the summit in Vienna said “security is a key point in Libya’s future. “We recognise the need to bolster the efforts of coordination among the Libyan military and security forces and we invite them to rapidly create a unified command to coordinate the fight against Daesh”. It said “guaranteeing security and defending the country from terrorism must be the task of unified and strengthened national forces. The Libyans must fight with unity”. Italy, along with the other European countries present at the summit, has declined the invitation of the United Nations to protect the UN mission offices in Tripoli, for which “a multinational force is needed,” Gentiloni said. For Rome, he said, the priority is to defend the Italian embassy in the Libyan capital, which is set to be reopened in the coming months. Gentiloni told ANSA that the agreement reached on Libya today “has a great political value”, based on the recognition “of the international community of the responsibility of the government led by Sarraj.” He said “on this basis I think that various requests of this government can be met”. The reopening of Italy’s embassy in Tripoli is “an objective we are very fond of” but security is needed, “I hope that today’s step forward helps us”. The Vienna conference represents “a great success for Italy”, Italy’s special Libya envoy, Ambassador Giorgio Starace, told ANSA. “We are very satisfied, putting 20 countries together wasn’t simple,” he said. From today, Starace said, “a new phase opens with the recognition that the national-unity government is operational to address the country’s emergencies”. Premier Matteo Renzi said in Rome that “it is important to underline how the specific attention on Libya is useful to pacify the whole Mediterranean area and not only to reduce the number of refugees and (migrant) arrivals in Europe”. He said “I underline the extraordinary importance of the international community’s diplomatic action led by Minister Gentiloni” in Vienna. Renzi spoke after meeting Polish President Andrzej Duda. Sarraj told the Daily Telegraph earlier he did not want western troops to be sent against ISIS in his country. “No boots on the ground,” he said. Sarraj instead asked the international community to train Tripoli’s troops and end an arms embargo on the north African country. He added: “The terrorists will be defeated by our armed forces and not by rival militia”. In an interview with the British daily, Sarraj said his country felt abandoned by the West since the 2011 intervention that helped topple Muammar Gheddafi. Sarraj said the country’s worst enemy was not ISIS but divisions that only his national-unity government will solve. The Vienna summit on Libya was backed primarily by Italy and the United States with the aim of launching ‘Phase 2’ of the stabilisation of the North African country. The countries of the so-called ‘Rome Format’ (the permanent members of the UN Security Council, European and regional countries, international organisations) and Malta, Chad, Niger and Sudan were all invited to the meeting called and co-chaired by Kerry and Gentiloni. “The unity and stabilisation of Libya remain a priority for Italy,” read a statement from the foreign ministry on the eve of the summit.