EU Denies Providing Libyan Coast Guard with Marine Equipment

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The European Union has denied that it provided marine equipment to the Libyan Coast Guard.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the EU reminded that, “Brussels provides support and assistance to enhance the operational capabilities of the Coast Guard, and the General Administration for Coastal Security (GACS) in Libya. This is in order to prevent further human losses in the Mediterranean, and to control human smuggling networks.”

The spokesperson added that, “The EU provided a series of exercises to some Coast Guard members in Libya and rehabilitated two ships belonging to it. This is within the framework of the border management program funded by Brussels, with a total value of €57.2 million euros.” The EU spokesman claimed that, “The leaders of Operation IRINI are making contact with Libyan officials, to see the possibility of continuing the training that the previous Operation Sophia had started. It seems that the Libyans are not ready at the moment.”

This statement came after reports that Turkey had launched training exercises for the Libyan Coast Guard, allegedly using naval capabilities and ships said to be financed by the EU.

Normally, the EU refuses to comment on the Libyan government’s use of other parties to carry out training missions. Observers believe that Turkey’s training of the Libyan military constitutes an additional blow to the EU and undermines their policy in Libya.