EU training Libyan coast guard to curb migrant flows

2016-10-28 11:07
File: AFP

File: AFP

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Brussels - The European Union has begun training the Libyan coast guard as part of efforts to curb the growing influx of irregular migrants from North Africa, EU foreign affairs head Federica Mogherini said on Thursday.

"Today we are starting the training of the Libyan coast guard in Operation Sophia which is a very important step," Mogherini said as she arrived for a meeting with Nato defence ministers in Brussels.

"I think co-operation also in that respect with Nato would be important and we welcome that very much," she said.

The EU and Nato have been discussing increased overall cooperation in the face of new security challenges, such as in Ukraine and Syria.

"We are together here because a stronger Europe means a stronger Nato," alliance head Jens Stoltenberg said in opening remarks.

Stoltenberg said Natohad just launched its own Operation Sea Guardian in the Mediterranean to help support Operation Sophia.

Important step 

"Today we will discuss how to deepen Nato-EU co-operation and partnership further ... including in areas of countering hybrid threats, cyber defence, exercises," he added.

The EU launched Operation Sophia last year after hundreds of migrants died when their rickety boats sank off southern Italy, sparking popular outrage at their plight.

The central Mediterranean route has seen more migrants risk their lives in recent months after the EU reached an accord with Turkey in March to halt an influx of more than a million refugees who crossed the Aegean Sea to reach Europe last year.

A separate Nato mission in the Aegean will meanwhile continue, at least until the end of the year, German Defence Minister Ursula Von der Leyen said.

Diplomatic sources said the future of this operation was uncertain given that key ally Turkey was unhappy at seeing Nato in waters so close to home and which are in some cases disputed with traditional rival Greece.

Operation Sophia is restricted to international waters in the Mediterranean so the engagement with the UN-backed administration in Libya represents an important step.

Sophia currently comprises five vessels and three helicopters charged with intercepting smugglers' boats and destroying them.

Read more on:    libya  |  migrants  |  north africa

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.