France Dedicates Aerial Assets to Support Enforcement of Arms Embargo to Libya

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On Saturday, the French army confirmed that developed aerial assets will be allocated to support the European Union’s EUNAVFOR MED IRINI operation in order to effectively contribute to the implementation of the 2016 United Nations resolution on the arms embargo on Libya (UNSCR 2292).

In an interview with Al-Arabiya TV channel, the French army command spokesman, Colonel Frederic Barbry, said that the EU-led IRINI operation is continuing to impose the arms embargo on Libya,” which is stipulated in UN Security Council resolutions.

Regarding the military drills that France conducted with Italy, Greece and Cyprus in the eastern Mediterranean, Barbry said: “The joint exercises in the Mediterranean are aimed at reducing the escalation.”

The IRINI Operation has also observed the activities of more than 25 airports and landing strips. It has also monitored more than 65 military flights or possible military-related air cargos going back and forth to Libya from different countries.”

“Thanks to information gained by IRINI assets and more than 190 groups of photos provided by SatCen (European Union Satellite Centre) as well as intelligence from EU member states, the Operation Headquarters was able to issue more than 10 special reports to the United Nations Panel of Experts on Libya relating to possible violations of the arms embargo or instances of oil smuggling in Libya, thus putting an alert on external influences on both sides of the conflict in the country,” the IRINI Operation explained.

France and Turkey, two NATO members, are escalating the military situation in the eastern Mediterranean over the growing dispute between Turkey and Greece after Ankara sent its Oruc Reis survey vessel to disputed waters in the region earlier this month.

President Emmanuel Macron has called for the EU to show solidarity with Greece and Cyprus in the disputes over natural gas reserves and over the extent of the countries’ continental shelves. Paris pushed for further sanctions at the EU level against Turkey, but there are divisions in the bloc over the issue.