Switzerland has signed an agreement with the European Union to provide the basis for deploying a Swiss civilian border control specialist to Libya on a one-year mission, as part of the European Union Border Assistance Mission in Libya (EUBAM Libya).
“With this deployment, Switzerland will round up its peace promotion activities in Libya and lend its support to European efforts to help stabilise the Maghreb and the Sahel,” the foreign ministry said in a statement on Friday.
EUBAM Libya aims to help the Libyan authorities in improving and developing the security of the country’s borders and to support the Libyan government in developing an integrated border management strategy (IBM). These measures should contribute towards stabilising the country, developing the Libyan economy, and combating organised crime and terrorism, as part of Libya’s post-conflict reconstruction.
The annual EUBAM budget for Libya is €30 million (CHF36.5 million) and, when operating at full capacity, the mission will have just over 110 international staff.
Libya, a mostly desert and oil-rich country, was ruled for 42 years by Moammar Gaddafi. His reign was brought to an end in 2011, following a six-month uprising and an ensuing civil war. On June 25 the country went to the polls to choose 200 members of the new parliament – the House of Representatives – to replace the interim parliament elected in July 2012. It was seen as a last chance to end the chaos that has gripped the country since Gaddafi’s downfall. But the elections were marred by a low turnout and violence.
Switzerland’s involvement in Libya comes as part of the government’s special programme for North Africa 2011–2016, the statement continued. The country also takes part in United Nations and EU peace missions as part of its engagement in civilian peace promotion.
There is a long tradition of civilian experts being deployed as part of Swiss peace, human rights and humanitarian policy, added the foreign ministry.
These experts are put into action on an as-needed basis for fixed-term civilian peace projects, as election observers, police advisers or specialists on issues such as constitutional law or mediation.