By Libya Herald reporter.
Tunis, 13 May 2016:
The EU has extended the Mediterranean naval anti-human trafficking Operation Sophia for another year but . . .[restrict]isto add training for the Libya Coast Guard to its remit.
In a statement today, the EU’s foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini said that the Political Security Committee yesterday agreed the move. Disrupting the smugglers’ operations would remain the main task of European navies taking part in the EUNAVFOR MED operation, she explained, however there would now also be training for the Libyan Coast Guard and information sharing with them.
EU officials are reported by the ANSAMed news agency also saying that Operation Sophia vessels will not for the moment pursue and arrest boats involved in smuggling if in Libyan waters but that the latest development was a step in that direction.
According to Mogherini, the training decision followed a request from the Presidency Council and implementation plans were already in hand. She added that the navies would also be involved in implementing that UN arms embargo once there was a new resolution from the UN Security Council.
“These developments are very welcome given the urgency of the situation in Libya,” said Mogherini adding: “I will have the opportunity to discuss this further with the Libyan Prime Minister in Vienna on Monday at the Libya conference convened by the United States and Italy.”
Despite the presence of many EU member state’s navy vessels in the high seas off Libya, weapons and ammunition are widely reported to have been shipped to Libya without being stopped despite the fact that the UN current arms embargo would permit it. [/restrict]