EU Launches Operation IRINI to Enforce Libya Arms Embargo

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The European Union is stepping up its efforts to enforce the UN arms embargo on Libya, thereby contributing to the peace process through the launch of a new, Common Security and Defence Policy military operation in the Mediterranean.

The Council today adopted a decision launching Operation EUNAVFOR MED IRINI as from 1 April 2020. IRINI, (Greek for “peace”), will have as its core task the implementation of the UN arms embargo through the use of aerial, satellite and maritime assets.

In particular, the mission will be able to carry out inspections of vessels on the high seas of Libya, that are suspected to be carrying arms or related materials, in accordance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 2292 (2016). IRINI will be led by Rear Admiral Fabio Agostini as EU Operation Commander, and its headquarters will be located in Rome, Italy.

The mandate of Operation IRINI will initially last until 31 March 2021, and will be under the close scrutiny of EU Member States. Contributing EU states 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.

In parallel with the launch of Operation IRINI, the existing EUNAVFOR MED operation in the Mediterranean, SOPHIA, will permanently cease its activities.