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Improving security in Libya

Munitions remnants in Libya

Munitions remnants in Libya, © GIZ

08.08.2013 - Article

Within the framework of an arms control partnership between the Federal Republic of Germany and post-revolution Libya, the Federal Foreign Office is funding a multi-year programme to improve the security situation in Libya. The programme to enhance security sector capabilities, which is being implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), will be complemented by an EU programme to improve the stockpiling of weapons and munitions.

Within the framework of an arms control partnership between the Federal Republic of Germany and post-revolution Libya, the Federal Foreign Office is funding a multi-year programme to improve the security situation in Libya. The programme to enhance security sector capabilities, which is being implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), will be complemented by an EU programme to improve the stockpiling of weapons and munitions.

The German programme’s goal is to help the new government of Libya with capacity-building in order to clear former battle sites and remove remnants of armed conflicts such as ammunition and warheads. A further long-term aim is to enable the Libyan security authorities to stem the uncontrolled proliferation of arms, especially small arms, and to regulate the possession of weapons by civilians.

The project is being implemented by the German international cooperation agency GIZ. The Federal Foreign Office will make available a total of 2.9 million euros for this partnership for the years 2012 to 2017. The GIZ’s main partner is the Libyan Mine Action Centre (LMAC). In late 2011 and 2012, the German Government contributed some 750,000 euros to help establish this agency. The project will also support the civil society organisations that undertake mine and UXO clearance in Libya and will promote awareness-raising among the population.

Munitions remnants in Libya
Munitions remnants in Libya© dpa / picture-alliance

Major EU contribution

The EU’s involvement in the GIZ project is based on a Council Decision of 24 June 2013. The EU is exemplary in the way it has decided to complement the Federal Foreign Office’s contribution with significant co-financing. The EU contribution of 5 million euros for the period 2013-2017 is to be used for improving arms controls by rehabilitating storage areas and enhancing the security management of weapons and ammunition. The EU Council Decision can be viewed here.

Securing a destroyed munitions dump in Libya

In addition to funding this long-term security sector capacity-building programme, the German Government continues it work to protect the civilian population in the country and improve the security situation. In many areas of the country, contamination by explosive remnants of war following the fighting and the bombardment of bunker complexes still poses a real threat. Since 2012, the Federal Foreign Office has supported work on clearing and securing a destroyed munitions dump in Misrata.

Contaminated area in Misrata
Contaminated area in Misrata© Handicap International

Commissioned by the Federal Foreign Office, the international NGO Handicap International will clear what was formerly a weapons and munitions storage bunker of remnants of war and will secure it.

During the battles in Misrata, several bunker complexes were destroyed. In the process, large amounts of explosives – munitions of all calibres, rockets and mines – were scattered in and around the facilities. With funds from the Federal Foreign Office, a munitions dump in close proximity to a residential area will be cleared and secured.

Former bunker complex in Misrata
Former bunker complex in Misrata© Handicap International

The situation is dangerous because the local population may scavenge the stores and try to obtain recyclable metal from the munitions and weapons. There have already been several accidents in connection with such activity, some of them fatal. A significant danger to the population is thus being removed. The clearance will also reduce the risk that terrorist forces can use the remaining explosives for attacks.

The project, to which the Foreign Office has contributed 600,000 euros, also provides for the deployment of two highly specialised clearance teams over a period of several months. As part of the project, Libyan staff are to be trained and the storage site repaired.

Article in the Libya Heral on international support for mine clearance in Libya

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