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Al-Sarraj Demands Release of Frozen Assets to Fight ISIS | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Chairman of Libyan Presidential Council and Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj

Cairo – While a European military official announced European Union’s readiness to train Libyan Forces in naval military missions, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi conditioned Italian military interference in Libya with Prime Minister of the Government of National Accord Fayez al-Sarraj filing an official request at the United Nations.

During his meeting with The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, al-Sarraj announced that Libya needs the arms embargo lifted as soon as possible to be able to defeat ISIS.

Al-Sarraj repeated the same stance when meeting with Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey.

Renzi said: “We won’t interfere with our army unless there was a request and with the approval of al-Sarraj.”

During his statement to Italian media, Renzi said that they are working at the diplomatic level to help al-Sarraj stabilize the situation in Libya.

Meanwhile, a Libyan military official denied the arrival of a joint mission at the air base in Benghazi.

Italian News Agency, Aki reported Benina Air Base spokesperson Naser al-Hasi denying the existence of a joint Italian security force in Benghazi.

Rear Admiral Enrico Credendino revealed a proposal to train Libyans on managing a small fleet to combat human smuggling. Admiral Credendino told Italy’s la Repubblica newspaper: “In 14 weeks we can train the first 100 men in international waters by turning one of our ships into a school.”

He added: “There are eight patrol boats ready for delivery that had been equipped by Italy for the Libyan government before the civil war broke out.”

Credendino admitted that with more personnel and boats, the Libyans will be able to act autonomously within three or four months.

According to Credendino, ISIS is not directly involved in people smuggling, but extorts the traffickers who operate in their territory.

Credendino said that a U.N. resolution must be issued for an EU force to intervene directly in Libya or impose a weapons embargo.

An EU force, known as “Operation Sophia,” was set to fight human smuggling in the south-central of the Mediterranean Sea. The force cannot enter Libyan waters without an invitation from the government.

Over the past two days, Italian coastguard rescued 5,600 migrants, some of them rescued by ships participating in the Sophia mission.