Libya says working on border security with Tunisia


Libya and Tunisia are working together to better control their shared border, National Transitional Council (NTC) chairman Mustafa Abdel Jalil said after talks with Tunisia’s Interim Prime Minister Beji Caid Sebsi.

Tunisia opened its main border crossing with Libya in August after Tripoli was captured by rebels who toppled Muammar Gaddafi. But the circulation of weapons in Libya has raised concern among governments over arms trafficking.
“Our combined effort is to provide security for both sides of the border,” Jalil said at a news conference with Sebsi, Reuters reports.

Defence and interior ministers from both countries were at Wednesday’s meeting and would work to set up better border controls, he said.

The United Nations sees the proliferation of weapons in Libya as a major concern and says its new rulers need to establish a proper police force and army to replace hundreds of militias made of up of mainly volunteers.

Libya’s southern neighbour Niger has called the risk of cross-border arms trafficking “explosive”. Algeria, which shares a border with Libya, says it is concerned that al Qaeda militants will exploit disorder in the North African country to acquire weapons.

The civil war that ended Gaddafi’s four-decade rule drew closer to its end this week after NTC fighters drove pro-Gaddafi forces into just two small pockets of his home town Sirte.

Libya’s neighbours fear that the NTC will not be able to secure weapons left by the old regime once they are in control of the whole country.

Late last month a European Union envoy said it would take a long time for Libya to control all its borders due to the complexity of the task.

Tunisia’s Sebsi remained optimistic on the border issue.
“Tunisia’s security is partly in Libya,” he said, speaking alongside Jalil. “Up till now things are going well.”