Libya rejects EU military plans
EU under fire.
Mediterranean migrants: Libya rejects EU military plans
Libya has criticised EU proposals to authorise the use of force against people smugglers taking migrants across the Mediterranean to Europe.
The Libyan ambassador to the UN told the BBC that the EU’s intentions were unclear and “very worrying”.
The EU is seeking a UN mandate to allow military action to destroy or halt smugglers’ boats in Libyan waters.
The measures are part of the EU’s proposed plans to stop migrants drowning in the Mediterranean.
The UN estimates that 60,000 people have already tried to cross the Mediterranean this year, with more than 1,800 dying during the journey. Many are fleeing conflict or poverty in countries such as Syria, Eritrea, Nigeria and Somalia.
Other plans being discussed include expanding maritime rescue services and introducing a quota system for distributing asylum seekers within the EU.
The European Commission is expected to propose the quota system on Wednesday, along with plans to increase legal means for migrants to come to Europe so that they do not turn to smugglers.
A quota system would need to be agreed by EU states and is highly controversial, with many EU countries fiercely opposed.
‘Left in the dark’
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini is taking her case for international intervention in Libya to the UN Security Council in New York later on Monday.
The EU has proposed “systematic efforts to identify, capture and destroy vessels before they are used by traffickers”.
Diplomats are thought to be drafting a UN Security Council resolution that would allow EU vessels to conduct operations against smugglers in Libyan waters, underchapter seven of the UN charter that authorises the use of force to maintain international peace.
However, Libya’s ambassador to the UN, Ibrahim Dabbashi, told the BBC that his country was against the proposal.
“The Libyan government has not been consulted by the European Union. They have left us in the dark about what their intentions are, what kind of military actions they are going to take in our territorial waters, so that is very worrying,” he told the World Service’s Newsday programme.
“We want to know… how they can distinguish between the fishers’ boats and the traffickers’ boats,” he added.