11. Oktober 2016 · Kommentare deaktiviert für „EU may delay training Libya forces to curb refugee influx: Diplomats“ · Kategorien: Europa, Libyen

Quelle: PressTV

The European Union might have to postpone the launch of a mission tasked with training Libyan coastguard officers as part of an operation to curb refugee trafficking, diplomats say.

A European diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP on Sunday that the commanders of the EU naval mission known as Operation Sophia “are still waiting for the list” of 100 initial candidates for the training program, which was initially planned to commence by the end of September or mid-October.

The unnamed diplomat added that Libya’s Government of National Accord had to date failed to submit the list of candidates to be vetted, a procedure, which according to the official, takes some 20 days to complete once the bloc received them.

The diplomat went on to say that the unity government led by Fayez al-Sarraj faced a “complex task” as it did not yet have total control over the conflict-torn North African country.

The EU launched Operation Sophia in October 2015 in an attempt to board, search, seize and divert boats suspected of being employed for refugee smuggling into Europe, with a focus on an area of the Mediterranean Sea north of Libya.

The operation has five vessels and three choppers tasked with intercepting smugglers’ boats and destroying them in international waters.

“These have to be loyal people, who are not involved in corruption, since they are going to be the multiplicators and will command operations on the Libyan side,” another unnamed diplomat said, expressing doubt that the mission, which was approved by the EU over the summer, could begin before mid-October.

The coasts of Libya have turned into a launch pad for people seeking to reach Europe. The unsafe rubber boats that carry hundreds of refugees often capsize off Libya, especially near its western coast.

Human traffickers have taken advantage of the chaos gripping Libya since 2011 to boost their lucrative business.

Since 2014, more than 10,000 refugees have died or are feared to have drowned while attempting to get across the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Many blame the West for sparking the conflicts and tensions in the Middle East and North Africa that have been forcing millions of refugees to flee to Europe in the hope of finding a better life.

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