Two non-armed Swiss army members are to give support to the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) for a period of two years, the cabinet announced on Friday.
The experts will be heading to Tunisia where they will work on preparations for humanitarian demining in Libya. The UN has asked Switzerland for experts in information management who will help to optimise the existing database for demining preparation and train local employees in their use.
“The stabilisation of Libya is in the interest of Switzerland’s foreign and security policies,” a defence ministry statement said.external link
Large parts of Libya are affected by mines, unsafe munition and unexploded ordinance, the ministry explained. This lack of security means that the United Nations is not currently able to go into Libya. But preparations to do so are currently being made, especially in the domain of collecting and working through data.
The work of the Swiss army experts has been approved as part of Switzerland’s peace building service.external link This will allow “the clearance activities, which will take place after the return to Libya, to be more precisely planned and prioritised”, added the statement.
However, the cabinet has placed two limits on the Swiss mission: it will take place over a maximum of two years and be based in Tunisia only.
The UNSMIL external linkhas existed since 2011. Its mandate is to help Libya transition to democracy after the fall of former dictator Moammar Gaddafi. It also works in promoting human rights, the rule of law and government building. UNSMIL’s mandate runs out on September 15, 2017.