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UN-Backed Libyan Government Asks NATO to Help Train Its Armed Forces

Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban with REUTERS

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization has confirmed the receipt of an official request from Libya’s United Nations-backed government to help train the country’s armed forces.

“This request … we received yesterday, so we have just started to look into what kind of support we could offer,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said at a news conference. “The request is about help for building security and defense institutions.”

The north African country was plunged into an armed conflict six years ago following an uprising that led to the fall of the regime of Muammar Gaddafi. NATO led a coalition that entered Libya on March 19, 2011, as part of efforts to oust Gaddafi.

They teamed up with coalition forces in the country primarily enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya. After seven months and following the death of Gaddafi, the UN Security Council voted to end NATO’s mandate on October 31, 2011.

Libya is currently split with rival governments holding different parts. In the midst of the parallel authorities, there is the presence of Islamic State insurgents who, until recently, held parts of Sirte until national forces pushed them out.

Whiles the UN-backed Fayez Sarraj government is based in Tripoli, General Halifa Haftar’s government is based in the eastern town of Tobruk. There have been recent efforts by neighboring countries, Chad and Egypt, to help solve the political situation.

NATO is an international organization created in 1949 by the North Atlantic Treaty for purposes of collective security. Though it was founded in the United States, its current headquarters is in the Belgian capital of Brussels.

Twelve countries were part of the founding of NATO: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom and the United States. In 1952, Greece and Turkey became members of the Alliance, joined later by West Germany (in 1955) and Spain (in 1982).

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