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    'UN Should Do Its Best to Find Money' for New Army in Africa – Libyan Politician

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    As part of fight against illegal migration via Libya, the UN Security Council has approved the creation of an army by five Sahel zone countries in Africa. Baki al-Ali, one of the leaders of the Libyan Tribal Council, told Sputnik that this initiative could effectively resolve the ongoing global refugee crisis.

    Libyan politician Baki al-Ali said that an army created by Sahel countries should not interfere in the internal affairs of these countries or those located on the Mediterranean coast.

    "The army can help the crisis-hit country only in coordination with the authorities of this country," he added.

    Touching upon the fact that the initiative was endorsed by France and Italy, with the US and the UK refusing to finance the project, Baki al-Ali said that the go-ahead of Paris and Rome is only natural given that the two countries were hardest hit by illegal migration from Africa to Europe.

    Migrants in a boat arrive at a naval base after they were rescued by Libyan coastguard, in Tripoli, Libya, October 17, 2017
    © REUTERS / Hani Amara
    Migrants in a boat arrive at a naval base after they were rescued by Libyan coastguard, in Tripoli, Libya, October 17, 2017

    "Similarly, it is understandable why Washington is preventing the creation of a Sahel army, delaying discussions on its financing. The United States is putting pressure on the UN," he said. 

    Al-Ali added that the G5 army, which will include soldiers from Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Mali, Niger and Chad, is due to begin work by spring of next year.

    "That's why it is necessary to ensure its financing [as soon as possible]. The UN estimates that the formation of the army alone will cost 400 million dollars, but further money will be needed to maintain it," he said.

    Al-Ali pointed out that the UN should do its best to find funds for the [Sahel] army in a bid to stabilize the region. "So far, he concluded, only 108 million euros have been collected, and about half of this sum was allocated by the EU."

    READ MORE: Situation With Migrants in Libya a 'Big Problem' – Lawmaker

    According to The Guardian, 30,000 people have died in the Sahara desert and 10,000 more drowned in the Mediterranean Sea since 2014.

    As for the 5,000-strong Sahel army, it will reportedly cost at least 423 million dollars in the first year of its operation.

    READ MORE: EU Cannot Return Migrants to Libya as Has No Partner in Country — Slovak FM

    In an interview with the newspaper La Repubblica in late August, European Parliament President Antonio Tajani proposed that six billion euros ($7.1 billion) in aid should be allocated to Libya to assist the country in tackling its migration problem and working out a long-term strategy on EU investments to Africa.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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