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Belgium: EU FMs agree on new mission to enforce Libyan arms embargo02:19

Belgium: EU FMs agree on new mission to enforce Libyan arms embargo

Belgium, Brussels
February 17, 2020 at 19:52 GMT -00:00 · Published

European Union foreign ministers agreed on Monday to commence a new aerial and maritime operation focused on reinforcing a UN arms embargo around Libya, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell confirmed in Brussels.

"We agreed to launch a new operation in the Mediterranean and Operation Sophia will be closed," Borrell said referring to the bloc's current naval mission in the Mediterranean Sea.

Borrell said Operation Sophia would end on March 20, the expiry date of its mandate.

The new operation "will comprise aerial, satellite, and maritime assets," said the EU's foreign policy chief.

Borrell said the new operation would address concerns that the presence of European ships in the Mediterranean would produce a "pull effect" on migrants attempting to reach the EU from Libya. "In case of (the) observation of 'pull factors' on migration, maritime assets will be withdrawn from the relevant areas," said Borrell.

Operation Sophia, which aims to combat the people smuggling in the Mediterranean, currently has no ships of its own after a compromise struck under pressure from the Italian government in March 2019, by which the operation was limited to aircraft alone.

Belgium: EU FMs agree on new mission to enforce Libyan arms embargo02:19
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European Union foreign ministers agreed on Monday to commence a new aerial and maritime operation focused on reinforcing a UN arms embargo around Libya, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell confirmed in Brussels.

"We agreed to launch a new operation in the Mediterranean and Operation Sophia will be closed," Borrell said referring to the bloc's current naval mission in the Mediterranean Sea.

Borrell said Operation Sophia would end on March 20, the expiry date of its mandate.

The new operation "will comprise aerial, satellite, and maritime assets," said the EU's foreign policy chief.

Borrell said the new operation would address concerns that the presence of European ships in the Mediterranean would produce a "pull effect" on migrants attempting to reach the EU from Libya. "In case of (the) observation of 'pull factors' on migration, maritime assets will be withdrawn from the relevant areas," said Borrell.

Operation Sophia, which aims to combat the people smuggling in the Mediterranean, currently has no ships of its own after a compromise struck under pressure from the Italian government in March 2019, by which the operation was limited to aircraft alone.

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