The head of the European Union’s “IRINI” mission, Admiral Fabio Agostini, reiterated the EU’s Foreign Policy High Representative, Josep Borrell’s statements that IRINI’s mission was not the solution to the conflict in Libya, but a part of the EU’s contribution to achieving peace in the country.
Agostini stated in an interview with the Italian newspaper “Messagero” on Monday “We will work in a balanced way with all the countries concerned, and all the parties involved. At the present time there are twenty countries that participate with personnel and equipment, an excellent result considering that everyone is battling the global COVID-19 epidemic.”
“The French ship participating in the mission, which has air detection capabilities allows us to monitor the movement of maritime navigation, and possibly airspace as well.” Agostini stressed that the primary goal was to implement the UN arms embargo on Libya, with secondary goals including capacity building of the Libyan coast guard, and combating human trafficking networks in the Mediterranean.
The IRINI Commander indicated that the intelligence services of the member states, as well as, satellite imagery provided by the European agency SatCen, will be a key element in their work. As for human trafficking, the Italian admiral explained: “Unlike the previous Sofia mission, this is a secondary task for us, yet we will try to deploy vessels to intercept, and monitor all types of illegal traffic.”
Agostini concluded, “The fight against human trafficking is also carried out by training the Libyan coast guard, and Navy. They will enjoy increasing independence, to manage security within their territorial waters, while we and our mechanisms will remain away from this issue.”