The Secretary General of NATO has told Sky News the alliance “stands ready to help” Libya if it wants military assistance.
“It is a very difficult and dangerous situation in Libya. We see fighting, we see turmoil. We see increased presence of ISIL,” Jens Stoltenberg said.
“We are not planning for a ‘combat’ mission.
“What we have offered, and we are in direct contact with the Libyan government, is to build capacity; to help them build defence institutions, disarm militia groups perhaps also in the future some training.”
Britain has provisionally offered 1,000 troops to contribute to a larger training mission led by the Italians.
“We are ready to help,” Mr Stoltenberg confirmed.
“But they have to request – so we will not send in troops and we will not do any activities in Libya at all without a request from the Libyan government.
“I will not speculate too much if and when the new request will arrive because the new government has only been in place for a few days.
“They know that we have the capabilities and that we stand ready to help them.”
The Secretary General also reacted to Russian jets flying low and fast over a US guided missile destroyer in the Baltic Sea on Monday.
“This is an unsafe and unprofessional behaviour of the Russian planes and it is not the only example,” he said.
“We’ve seen several examples of this kind of behaviour and it just underlines the importance of transparency of risk reduction.
“We’re going to have a meeting in the NATO Russia commission next week and one of the issues we’re going to address there is exactly military activity and the need for risk reduction transparency.
“What we have seen is the downing of a Russian plane over Turkey a few months ago, so it just illustrates we are faced with different kinds of dangers, situations along NATO borders and also some examples of Russia violating NATO airspace, and the downing of the Russian plane over Turkey is another example of the kind of incidents and accidents that we need to prevent.
“If they do happen they don’t spiral out of control and create really dangerous situations.”