September 20, 2021

EU firms up plans for Libya military mission

The EU is firming up plans for a military mission to Libya with a view to compete for affect with international powers there, in line with a leaked paper seen by EUobserver.

Libya’s peace course of required “large-scale disarmament, demobilisation, and reintegration (DDR) of combatants as well as a fundamental security sector reform (SSR),” the inner paper from the EU international service, dated 1 July, stated.

“In this context, an EU military CSDP [Common Security and Defence Policy] engagement should … be considered in order not to leave the entire field of activity in the military domain to third states,” it added.

“In the long term and when conditions allow, a military CSDP engagement with a mandate to support the SSR process in the military domain [should] be considered,” it stated.

It didn’t identify the third states in what it known as the “competitive situation” in Libya.

However Chad, Egypt, Jordan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates have all turn out to be concerned in Libya’s civil struggle.

And the EU paper did allude to Turkey, when it stated one “third country” had “continued denial of inspections” of suspected arms shipments to Libya in violation of a UN embargo.

The identical nation “maintains a strong military presence in Libya and provides training to selected armed forces in western Libya”, particularly Libya’s coastguard and navy, it famous, after Turkey despatched troops to Libya final 12 months.

And Turkey’s defence ministry has been tweeting about interception of migrants off Libya’s coast, prompting fears that Ankara might achieve additional leverage over the EU by taking management of the central Mediterranean migration route in addition to the Greek one it already managed.

The EU report painted a worrying image of Libya, saying there have been nonetheless “many” international fighters there and that oil, arms, and human trafficking was occurring unabated.

An EU naval mission, Irini, is making an attempt to curb smuggling and collect intelligence.

And the EU is hoping to compete with Turkish affect amongst Libya’s naval authorities by giving presents with strings hooked up.

“The provision of equipment [by Irini to the Libyan coast guard] should be linked to the acceptance of associated [EU] training by the Libyan authorities,” the leaked EU report stated.

Libya has an extended Mediterranean Coastline from the place 1000’s of migrants attempt to cross to the EU annually.

It additionally has an unlimited desert border within the south managed by tribesmen, militias, and traffickers with hyperlinks to jihadist teams, creating safety dangers for Europe.

However “Libyan authorities have expressed a need for EU support on Libya’s borders, including in the south,” the EU paper stated.

“Should the Libyan authorities agree, this may open the possibility of obtaining overflight rights for EU aerial surveillance assets over Libyan territory,” within the southern desert, it added.

France echoes EU

Member states’ ambassadors have been as a consequence of have mentioned the report prior to now two weeks, however the EU international service didn’t say in the event that they took its proposals additional.

For his half, French international minister Jean Yves Le Drian echoed the leaked EU memo in a speech on the United Nations Safety Council in New York on Thursday (15 July).

“It is time to implement a progressive, symmetrical, and sequenced timetable for the departure of foreign elements from both sides,” Le Drian stated.

“The European Union, Italy, and France are ready to do more to support the training and equipment of the Libyan coast guard,” he stated.

However for all Le Drian’s concern “for the Libyan people [who] are aspiring to live in a safe, united, and sovereign country”, France has difficult the peace course of by giving dogged military help to a Libyan warlord, Khalifa Haftar, who has tried to overcome Tripoli from Libya’s UN and EU-recognised authorities.

“France, it seems, unconditionally supports Haftar, which fundamentally contradicts the logic of the UN-led process,” Moncef Kartas, a former UN weapons inspector, beforehand advised EUobserver.

Folks in want

The EUMC, an advisory physique to EU foreign-affairs chief Josep Borrell, additionally stated within the leaked paper Europe should abide by “international human rights law, international refugee law and … the law of the sea,” in all it did, whereas taking particular care of susceptible girls.

However for all its concern over folks in misery, the EU push to coach and equip Libya’s naval masters may effectively set alarm bells ringing on that entrance.

The Libyan coast guard and navy have intercepted some 16,000 folks making an attempt to flee by the central Mediterranean up to now this 12 months.

Many are despatched to authorities and militia-run detention centres.

EUobserver just lately spoke to survivors of the Libya-EU route when it joined a rescue-ship, the Ocean Viking, operated by French NGO SOS Mediterranee, in waters between Libya and Italy and Malta.

And their tales of abuse in Libyan camps have been corroborated in a brand new report by worldwide NGO Amnesty Worldwide, which additionally stated prisoners in Libyan detention centres have been subjected to “torture, sexual violence, forced labour.”

“Libyan authorities have rewarded those reasonably suspected of committing such violations with positions of power and higher ranks,” Amnesty Worldwide stated.

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