EU to Expand Arms Embargo Monitoring Mission in Libya

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On Saturday, the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, announced the expansion of IRINI’s mission to monitor the arms embargo on Libya, explaining that France has agreed for the port of Marseille to store the cargo of ships being inspected by the mission.

In a video conference with the EU countries’ defence ministers, Borrell stated that the EU-led Operation EUNAVFOR MED IRINI has improved greatly since its establishment in March of this year to enforce the United Nation’s arms embargo in Libya.

He also confirmed that new military capabilities and facilities have been provided to the operation, stating, “We had a ship and a part-time aircraft when the mission started seven months ago. Today we have four warships and four full-time planes.”

Borrell made great efforts to give IRINI the necessary potential to accomplish its mission. He increased his calls for contributions and sought to convince members of the EU Foreign Affairs Council of the mission’s necessity.

He emphasized that resolving the current conflict in Libya is in the best interest of the EU because the chaotic situation in the North African nation represents an opportunity for human traffickers to smuggle migrants through the Mediterranean into Europe.

“We have provided the United Nations with satellite images and intelligence,” he said. IRINI has documented violations of the embargo by Turkey and Russia, the two countries involved in the Libyan conflict.

Operation IRINI is a European Union Naval Force launched in March of this year with the primary aim of enforcing the arms embargo imposed by the United Nations Security Council, as well as implementing measures to stem illicit export of petroleum from Libya and providing training of the Libyan Coast Guard and Navy in law enforcement tasks at sea.