Tunisia to Host Security Meeting for Libya's Neighbors


Tunisia said Monday it will host a meeting of foreign ministers from the six countries neighboring Libya, to discuss ways of helping it deal with political turmoil and rising lawlessness.

A meeting of Maghreb countries on the situation in Libya had been scheduled for early June but it was delayed indefinitely because of the lack of "visibility" on the crisis unfolding at the time.

The new meeting, to take place in Hammamet, south of Tunis, on July 13 and 14, is due to gather the top diplomats from Egypt, Algeria, Sudan, Chad and Niger, the Tunisian foreign ministry said.

Representatives from the Arab League and the African Union are also expected to attend, it said in a statement.

The leaders will "exchange points of view on the forms of support that the neighboring states can offer... (to help) launch a Libyan national dialogue... and to strengthen state institutions and the democratic transition process in Libya."

The lawlessness in Libya, which has been rocked by major political crises and violent unrest since the overthrow of longtime strongman Moammar Gadhafi in 2011, has had far-reaching security implications for its neighbors.

A Tunisian diplomat and fellow embassy staffer were freed in late June months after being seized by gunmen in Tripoli.

In January 2013, jihadists coming from Libya stormed the In Amenas desert gas plant in Algeria's far southeast, in a devastating four-day hostage crisis that left nearly 40 foreigners dead.

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