The international donor conference for Libya in Tunis, Tunisia, on Tuesday (12 April) set up a Stabilisation Facility (fund for emergency assistance and reconstruction) initiated by Germany and the United Nations. The idea behind the fund is to enable the Libyan Government of National Accord to bring about rapid improvements for the people. The Federal Government is providing 10 million euros for the fund. Germany was represented at the high-level conference in Tunis by Ambassador Rüdiger König, Director-General for Stabilisation at the Federal Foreign Office.
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier most recently called Libyan Prime Minister Fajis al-Sarraj on Saturday (9 April), shortly before the G7 Foreign Ministers Meeting in Japan. He congratulated him on taking up office in Tripoli and on his first successes in de facto assuming power. Germany will support the Government of National Accord as it works to stabilise the country and bring rapid, effective improvements in the suffering population’s day-to-day lives.
Stabilisation Facility: Concrete support for the Libyan people
The situation in Libya remains fragile, and the conflict could escalate again at any time. That is why tangible help is needed. In Tunis on Tuesday (12 April), the United Nations and the United Kingdom co-hosted a meeting of senior officials from some 50 states and international organisations who had gathered to coordinate international support for Libya. The aim is to ensure rapid, visible improvements for the Libyan people, for example in infrastructure, healthcare and water and electricity supply. A fund set up by Germany along with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the international community is intended to enable the Libyan Government of National Accord to implement emergency measures towards stabilisation and reconstruction.
Foreign Minister Steinmeier promised the Libyan Prime Minister three million euros in emergency aid on Saturday. The Federal Government also intends to contribute a further 10 million euros to the Stabilisation Facility. At the conference in Tunis, the Federal Foreign Office made a firm pledge of five million euros for 2016. Altogether on Tuesday a total of over 23 million euros was pledged for the Stabilisation Facility. Germany already has positive experience of this type of facility, in Iraq, where rapid reconstruction assistance was provided after the end of the hostilities, and around 90 per cent of the population has returned to Tikrit. A further aim is for the people in Libya to regain confidence in their state and experience a kind of “peace dividend”.
The creation of such a fund could become established as the international donor community’s key instrument in the initial post-conflict phase.
Terrorist threat: Need for a Libyan government capable of action
Germany and the international community had recently been concerned at the power vacuum that had emerged in Libya. In the past few months, among other things, the terrorist militia ISIS had conquered areas around the city of Sirte and built them up as a terrorist base in the direct vicinity of Europe. Stabilising Libya was therefore of fundamental importance both for the country itself and for Europe, Foreign Minister Steinmeier said:
In the chaos of the civil war, Libya has become a playground for criminal human traffickers and for IS terror groups who are also a threat for us in Europe and Germany. One thing is certain: we will only be able to stop the traffickers and terrorists in the long term if Libya once again has a government capable of action.
To ensure lasting stability, Libya therefore also needs to build up loyal and effective state security structures. The Federal Government will support the Libyan Government of National Accord in this area, too. For instance, initial consideration is being given to training security forces in the neighbouring country of Tunisia.
Libya and the Libyan people will need stamina if the country, marred by war and destruction, is to get back on its feet. Foreign Minister Steinmeier stressed: “Many small steps will be needed, as well as concrete support from all sides, if stability and peace are to be restored in Libya.” The conference in Tunis on Tuesday was one such step.