UN hears calls to enforce Libya arms embargo

The EU has urged European countries to send warships back to the Mediterranean to help enforce the Libyan arms embargo. (AFP/File)
Updated 11 June 2019
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UN hears calls to enforce Libya arms embargo

  • The council voted unanimously to extend authorization of Operation Sophia until June 2020

UNITED NATIONS: The UN Security Council on Monday renewed a green light to a European Union mission to combat migrant trafficking and arms smuggling off Libya’s coast amid calls for action to cut the flow of weapons.

The council voted unanimously to extend authorization of Operation Sophia until June 2020.

Germany told the council that arms supplies delivered in violation of a UN embargo were the main hurdle in the way of an end to the fighting in Tripoli and a return to political talks.

“A seemingly unlimited arms supply fuel the erroneous belief in the military solution to the conflict and contributes to the unwillingness of actors on the ground to agree on a cease-fire and resume a political process,” said Germany’s Deputy UN Ambassador Juergen Schulz.

“It is time to redouble our efforts, to assume our responsiblity and ... find ways to finally implement the arms embargo effectively,” he told the council.

Belgium also expressed concerns about arms flows as did South Africa. The resolution, first adopted in 2016, allows vessels of the EU operation to inspect ships in the Mediterranean suspected of carrying weapons.

The EU, however, suspended naval patrols in March, leaving it to air missions to keep track of suspicious ships.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has urged European countries to send warships back to the Mediterranean to help enforce the embargo.

UN envoy Ghassan Salame last month called for immediate steps to cut off arms flows to Libya, warning that without quick action, Libya will descend into civil war that could lead to a partition of the country.


Turkey: 8 dead, 31 rescued after migrant boat sinks

Updated 7 min 47 sec ago
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Turkey: 8 dead, 31 rescued after migrant boat sinks

  • The eight bodies were found inside the wreck of the boat at a depth of 32 meters
  • The number of people heading to the Greek islands from the Turkish coast has decreased since the height of the refugee crisis in 2015

ANKARA: A boat carrying migrants to Greece sank off the Turkish coast on Monday, leaving at least eight migrants dead, Turkey’s coast guard said.
The coast guard said 31 other migrants were rescued after the boat sank in the Aegean Sea, off the coast of Bodrum. The region is close to the Greek island of Kos.
The eight bodies were found inside the wreck of the boat at a depth of 32 meters (105 feet), the coast guard said in a statement.
It said the search-and-rescue operation involving two coast guard boats, a helicopter and a team of divers, is continuing.
The private DHA news agency said rescuers are still searching for one other migrant who remains unaccounted-for.
It was not immediately clear why the boat sank.
Although the number of people heading to the Greek islands from the Turkish coast has decreased since the height of the refugee crisis in 2015, hundreds continue to make the crossing each week.