UN considers international police force for Libya
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Last Updated: Saturday, August 27, 2011, 11:27
United Nations: An international police force may need to be sent to Libya which is "awash" with small arms, UN chief Ban Ki-moon said after talks with top African Union and European Union officials.

Ban also said better relations must be developed between the African Union and the Libyan rebel government. The AU has so far refused to recognize the National Transitional Council (NTC).

"Clearly, the challenges ahead are enormous," Ban told reporters after the video-conference talks with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, Erastus Mwencha, deputy chairman of the AU commission, and Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, secretary general of the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

"There is an urgent need to put an end to the conflict and restore order and stability. All agreed that, if the Libyan authorities request, we should be prepared to help develop police capacity, bearing in mind that the country is awash with small arms."

Ban said no details on police numbers needed had been agreed and added that he would hold more talks at the international meeting on Libya in Paris on September 1. Ban is to meet NTC leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil there.

The UN secretary general said he would soon make recommendations to the UN Security Council on the "urgent" need to send a UN mission to Libya.

Ban also highlighted widespread shortages of fuel, food and medical supplies.

"Reports on the ground suggest that the water supply to the capital and surrounding region may be in danger -- putting several million people, or more, at risk," he said.

The African Union has refused to recognize the NTC rebel government and this contributed to South Africa objecting to the release of frozen assets to buy humanitarian aid.

"I believe that Libyan authorities and the African Union should develop cooperative relations on the basis of this changing situation," Ban said.

"I believe that they will be able to have a better dialogue and a further dialogue."


First Published: Saturday, August 27, 2011, 11:27

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