Rear Admiral Stefano Turchetto, the Commander of the European Union’s EUNAVFOR MED IRINI operation, said that the extension of the mandate in the Mediterranean “is confirmation of the important results achieved.”
In an interview with Italy’s NOVA agency, Turchetto added that the operation “aims at protecting Europe’s security, in addition to maintaining stability in Libya and North Africa.”
Turchetto’s remarks came after the EU extended the mandate of its military mission. This is tasked with enforcement of the arms and oil embargo in Libya, and fighting human trafficking in the Mediterranean.
The EU Foreign Affairs Ministers agreed to extend the mandate of IRINI until the 31st of March 2025, the Council of the EU announced in a statement.
The costs are estimated to be €16.9 million ($18 million dollars) euros for the upcoming two years, the statement further added.
Turchetto noted that IRINI will “continue to gather useful information to compare the illicit trafficking of not only arms to Libya, but also oil and people smuggling to Europe.”
He pointed out that Europe “will build capacities and train law enforcement personnel in Libyan institutions responsible for SAR enforcement. So that Libya will be able to operate effectively, in accordance with international agreements and human rights in the sea.”
Established in 2020, the military mission aims to enforce the United Nations arms embargo on Libya in the air, in the sea, and by satellites.
“IRINI is part of the European integrated approach to Libya involving political, military, economic, and humanitarian efforts to bring stability and security to the country,” the operation says on its website.
It focuses on countering illegal arms trafficking and supporting the implementation of the arms embargo on Libya. It works to gather information on oil smuggling, in particular, due to its consequences on the Libyan economy, and its possible use to finance the arms market.
It also contributes to the disruption of the migrant smuggling business model. This is through collecting information with aerial assets, and sharing them with FRONTEX and relevant national authorities.