EU Mediterranean Libya arms embargo enforcement continues

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The European Union (UN) naval operation enforcing a United Nations (UN) arms embargo on Libya has been extended for a year.

The renewal will see EUNavFor Operation Irini continue in the Mediterranean Sea “to conduct offshore inspections on vessels suspected of operating in breach of the UN arms embargo on Libya in accordance with UNSCR (UN Security Council Resolution) 1970 (2011)”. The confirmation is UNSCR 2684 (2023).

“By patrolling the central Mediterranean, EUNavFor Irini ensures implementation of the UN arms embargo on Libya. This EU flagship operation is crucial not only for peace and stability in Libya, but also for the wider region. With the renewal of the mandate, Irini will continue to pursue its core mandate,” EU Vice President Josep Borrell said.

The extension will see Op Irini continue inspections of vessels bound to or from Libya, where there are reasonable grounds to believe arms or related materials are being carried to or from Libya, directly or indirectly, in violation of the arms embargo on Libya.

The implementation of the UN arms embargo on Libya remains crucial an Op Irini statement has it. Over the last 12 months, the operation made two significant seizures of illicit cargos en route to Libya. In July and October 2022, the operation uncovered two substantial breaches of the embargo. In total, about 150 vehicles modified for military purposes were seized. “By preventing the vehicles being delivered in Libya, it contributed to supporting the current ceasefire in the country.”

In addition to the UN mandate, Irini has an EU mandate which was extended for two years until 31 March 2025. It comprises the core task of implementing the UN arms embargo on Libya and three secondary tasks contributing to implementation of UN measures to prevent illicit oil products export from Libya, supporting disruption of the human smuggling business model and trafficking networks and providing capacity building and training to the Libyan Coast Guard and Navy. This will be implemented as soon as context allows the Irini statement reads.