Libya’s future threatened by ‘terrifying’ ISIL, says UN chief

Libya’s future threatened by ‘terrifying’ ISIL, says UN chief

NOUAKCHOTT, Mauritania – Agence France-Presse
Libya’s future threatened by ‘terrifying’ ISIL, says UN chief

United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon poses with children as he visits the Smara refugees camp near Tindouf, south-western Algeria, Saturday, March 5, 2016. Ban Ki-moon will meet with leaders of the Polisario Front, the organization disputing sovereignty over Western Sahara with Morocco, in the hope to help solving a 40-year conflict. AP Photo

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has warned that the future of Libya, and the stability of the whole Sahel region, is at stake as it faces the “terrifying threat” of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

But he warned international powers not to “stoke the fires of conflict” in the country.

Ban was speaking in Mauritania before heading to Algeria on March 5 as part of a tour of West and North Africa.

While meeting Mauritanian leaders, including President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz and Prime Minister Yahya Ould Hademine, in the capital Nouakchott on March 4, he said he was “deeply concerned about the situation in Libya.”

Chaos has engulfed Libya since the 2011 NATO-backed ouster of leader Moammar Gadhafi and rival administrations are being urged to sign up to a U.N.-brokered national unity government to help restore stability.  

The internationally recognized government is based in the far east of the North African country.

ISIL and other extremist organizations have exploited the power vacuum, making gains along the oil-rich coastal regions and triggering concern among Western nations over jihadists controlling territory just 300 kilometers from Europe.

“There are alarming reports of widespread human rights violations, including serious abuses that may amount to war crimes,” Ban said in his comments March 4.

“All those with influence must use it to calm the situation and stop the fighting. It is utterly irresponsible for any outside player to stoke the fires,” he added.

Meanwhile, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi cautioned March 5 that any military intervention in Libya by Italy would first need the approval of parliament, and that Rome would not be rushed into action.

Any “Italian commitment” against offshoots of ISIL in the conflict-torn country “would need to go through the necessary parliamentary and institutional steps,” he said in a note to his center-left Democratic Party.

“This is not the time to force things, this is the time for good sense and composure,” he warned, after the murder of two Italian hostages in Libya sparked increased pressure at home for the country to send in special forces.