German FM pledges more refugee aid for Libya

Source: Xinhua| 2017-06-09 00:56:21|Editor: yan
Video PlayerClose

BERLIN, June 8 (Xinhua) -- On his surprise visit to Libya on Thursday, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel pledged 3.5 million euros of extra refugee aid for the conflict-ridden state struggling to emerge from the throws of civil war.

The money will be used to improve the catastrophic conditions seen in the refugee camps across the country, with systematic sexual abuse and violence reportedly widespread.

For many African refugees, Libya is used as the gate to travel across the Mediterranean Sea and into Europe.

In the first five months of this year, 60,000 refugees have come to Europe via Libya, a rise of 26 percent compared to the previous year. Approximately 1,700 people were killed as they attempted to cross the Mediterranean Sea from January to May 2017.

Upon his arrival in Libya, Gabriel told journalists "Our goal is to fight against instability alongside Libyans."

The foreign minister referred to the importance of the state in the larger global crisis, saying "In Libya, we see the enormous political, humanitarian and security consequences of the conflict in the Middle East."

He continued "Escape, expulsion and migration are the consequences that directly affect us."

He also called on rival groups to compromise and negotiate with one another. "Only then will there be a chance to elevate the fighting and, in medium terms, to find order and a statehood."

Since the former Libyan President Muammar al-Gaddafi was overthrown in 2011 civil war, infighting has reigned over the North African country.

Libya remains politically divided despite signing a UN-sponsored peace agreement by the rival parties and appointing a unity government. The North African country is plagued with insecurity and unrest with presence of numerous extremist groups.