Situation in Libya

EU launches naval “Operation IRINI” to monitor arms embargo on Libya

The European Union has launched a new naval mission off Libyan coast, Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) military operation in the Mediterranean, called IRINI (peace in Greek) in order to step up efforts to enforce the UN arms embargo on Libya.

Operation IRINI will have as its core task the implementation of the UN arms embargo through the use of aerial, satellite and maritime assets, according to the EU’s announced on Tuesday.

The naval mission will be able to carry out inspections of vessels on the high seas off the coast of Libya suspected to be carrying arms or related material to and from Libya.

IRINI will also monitor and gather information on illicit exports from Libya of petroleum, crude oil and refined petroleum products.

According to the EU, the mission will also contribute to the capacity building and training of the Libyan Coast Guard and Navy in law enforcement tasks at sea.

Operation IRINI will also contribute to the disruption of the business model of human smuggling and trafficking networks through information gathering and patrolling by planes.

IRINI will be led by Rear Admiral Fabio Agostini as EU Operation Commander, and its headquarters will be located in Rome, Italy, the EU said in a statement.

It added that the mandate of Operation IRINI will initially last until 31 March 2021, one year long. It said the mission will be under the close scrutiny of EU Member States that will exercise political control and strategic direction through the Political and Security Committee (PSC), under the responsibility of the Council and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

“Only political solutions and the full respect of the UN arms embargo will bring a solution to the Libyan crisis. But diplomacy cannot succeed unless it is backed by action. This operation will be essential and a clear contribution to promoting peace in our immediate neighbourhood through a permanent ceasefire.” Said the High Representative of the EU Josep Borrell.

EU’s naval mission has been under criticism which regarded the new operation is aimed to help only the Government of National Accord via the sea as Khalifa Haftar’s forces continue to receive their support via land from Egypt or air from UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria.

Image: Consilium Europa

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