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
"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."