IRINI Commander: EU Ready to Resume Training Libyan Coast Guard

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On Monday, the Commander of the European Union’s Operation IRINI, Admiral Fabio Agostini, said they are ready to resume training of the Libyan Coast Guard and Navy, despite the obstacles caused by “political influences in Libya by countries outside the European Union.”

Agostini refused to comment on a question by the Italian news agency Nova, about a video published by the NGO “Sea Watch” that showed the Libyan Coast Guard shooting at migrant boats in a Maltese search and rescue area.

“But I can note that the Libyan Coast Guard… not only improved its operational capabilities, but also recorded a significant change in the pace of managing search and rescue operations, and the treatment of migrants who were saved,” Agostini told Nova.

“In just over three years, Operation Sophia trained 477 Coast Guard and Navy personnel, who reached a good practical and technical level, until the end of its mission (March 31, 2020),” he said.

“Operation IRINI also includes in its mandate the task of training the Libyan Coast Guard. However, the complex structure of political influences in Libya by countries outside the European Union did not allow the approval of the Libyan authorities to resume training activities,” he added.

Although the admiral did not name these stakeholders, the main country responsible for training the Libyan Coast Guard is Turkey.