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France Insists on Holding Libya Elections on Time

France Insists on Holding Libya Elections on Time

Friday, 3 August, 2018 - 09:00
French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian speaks during a news conference in Tripoli, Libya September 4, 2017. REUTERS/Ismail Zitouny

France has insisted on holding parliamentary and presidential elections in Libya by the end of 2018 despite Italy’s call for achieving reconciliation before any such move.

“We want to hold elections by the end of the year because the Libyan people have no representational entity that keeps the country stable,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told France Info website in remarks published Thursday.

Le Drian, who visited Libya last month to push Paris' initiative, said that the elections would help the country fight terrorism and stem the flow of migrants to Europe.

“Without stability in Libya, the flow of migrants would not be organized,” he stressed.

However, Italy insists a vote in Libya should not be rushed.

Meanwhile, Seoul said Thursday it had deployed a warship to Libya in an apparent show of force to secure the release of a South Korean national kidnapped along with three Filipinos.

A spokesman for Seoul's presidential office said the government was doing "its utmost with all the resources the country has".

"His country and his president have never once forgotten him," spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom said in a statement.

The South Korean and Philippines governments confirmed the kidnapped citizens were featured in a video shared on social media this week. The video shows the four men addressing the camera in English.

The 4,000-ton South Korean vessel, Munmu the Great, which takes part in anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden, was now on its way to Libya, officials said.

In addition to "carrying out its duty of protecting commercial vessels, (the warship) is also preparing for all possibilities including the need for military support", a defense ministry spokesman said.

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