GHADAMES (AFP) - The prime ministers of Libya, Algeria and Tunisia decided to reinforce border security and join forces tackling regional challenges including terrorism, arms trafficking and organised crime.

The decision was taken by Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan, Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal and Tunisian Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali during a meeting in the southern Libyan oasis of Ghadames.

They pledged in an 11-point plan to “create common border checkpoints and intensify cooperation in the security sphere through joint patrols,” and vowed as well to tackle organised crime and terrorism.

The premiers also addressed the crisis in Mali, which shares a border with Algeria and where troops are poised to reclaim a key town from Islamists threatening to advance on the capital after France sent in its air force. “It is necessary to find a political solution to this crisis by fostering dialogue between the different parties in Mali to preserve the sovereignty and unity of its territory,” they said in a joint statement. The Libyan prime minister told journalists the “situation in Mali has made it necessary for us to meet in order to prevent and tackle its consequences.”

It requires close “coordination between our military and intelligence services to prevent anything that might affect our security, the movement of persons, arms and drugs trafficking, terrorism and human trafficking,” he said.