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U.S. to Train Libyan Military Personnel in Bulgaria

By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 18, 2013 – The United States has agreed to provide basic combat training for 5,000 to 8,000 Libyan military personnel at the request of the Libyan prime minister, Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren said today.

The training mission is still being planned, Warren told reporters during a briefing this morning, and no details are yet available on costs, timing or training specifics.

“We’re in discussions with the Libyans on the exact number, [but] we’re prepared to provide training for 5,000 to 8,000 Libyan military personnel,” Warren said.

The training will take place in Bulgaria, he added, and Congress has been notified of discussions with the Libyans.

“The Libyan prime minister requested this, and we offered to provide general-purpose military training outside Libya,” Warren said. “It’s one element of a targeted security program we’ve been providing in Libya since 2011, building on the Paris ministerial-level meeting to support Libya’s security.”

NATO also is working to support the Libyan government’s requests for support.

In his opening statement at last June’s meeting of the alliance’s defense ministers, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the Libyan government had requested NATO’s security advice.

“We have already moved fast to respond,” he said at the time, adding that NATO allies sent an expert-level delegation to engage on the details.

Four months later, in his opening statement at another meeting of NATO defense ministers, Rasmussen said he was satisfied that NATO had agreed to respond positively to the Libyan government’s request for advice on defense institution building.

“We will set up a small advisory team, and this will be part of, and closely coordinated with, the overall efforts of the international community,” the secretary general said.


(Follow Cheryl Pellerin on Twitter @PellerinAFPS)

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