By Libya Herald reporter.
Tunis, 23 May 2016:
The EU has agreed to help train Libya’s navy, coast guard and security services. It . . .[restrict]follows a formal request from Presidency Council head Faiez Serraj.
The decision was taken at today’s meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels and comes within the context of the one ten days ago to renew the EU’s Mediterranean naval anti-human trafficking Operation Sophia for another year but also widen its remit to include training for the Libyan navy and coast guard for the task.
That decision was taken by the Political Security Committee (which consists of EU ambassadors). Today’s by the ministers confirms it, although final details still have to drawn up. These are expected in the next few days, at which point the whole programme will be formally authorised.
In a statement yesterday, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogehrini said that Serraj had himself formally written “to request rapid EU support” in relation to training for the Libyan navy, coast guard and security services”. The EU, she added, intended to make this happen “as soon as possible so as to support the Libyans with the many challenges that need facing”.
Deploring the the loss of “so many” lives at sea as a result of human trafficking, the European ministers today said that there was a clear need to enhance the capacity of Operation Sophia to stop the smugglers and to contribute to broader security “in support of the legitimate Libyan authorities”.
That, the EU insists, means the Presidency Council and the Government of National Accord. It has already recognised the latter as now being in office despite the fact that the House of Representatives has not yet approved it. In her statement yesterday, Mogherini referred to Faiez as “the Libyan prime minister”.
Explaining the UK’s position today on support for training, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said: “The Libyan coastguard is the basis on which we have to build security in the coastal waters of Libya”. [/restrict]