Libyan Government of National Accord gives EU permission to train its Coast Gurard

Libya has given the European Union permission to begin training its coast guard to help stem the flow of immigrants from Libya to Europe.

Frederica Mogherini, foreign policy chief of the UN, said the training "will be very important to control Libya's territorial waters, together with our Libyan partners, as well as to control the migrant influx." She made the remarks as she arrived in Brussels, Belgium for talks with EU foreign ministers. The talks will discuss how to move ahead with training as well as other issues. This would include the fight against the Islamic State, Mogherini noted: .
Following up on our useful talks last Monday in Vienna to discuss an array of issues relating to Libya, the Libyan Prime Minister Serraj has written to request rapid EU support contributing to the training of the Libyan Navy and Coast Guard, as well as the security service. This is an important development that I will discuss with Ministers at tomorrow's meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council with a view to making this operational as soon as possible so as to support the Libyans with the many challenges that need facing.

The EU has a Mediterranean naval operation in waters outside of Libya and the EU has been hoping for approval by the new GNA government that would allow operations to combat smugglers within Libyan territorial waters. UK Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, said: “The Libyan coast guard is the basis on which we have to build security in the coastal waters of Libya. The key thing is that we’ve now got the Libyan government asking us for that help,”Hammond said that a more effective coast guard would cut down arms smuggling along the coast, and also reduce illegal immigration along the coast. This shows how useful the GNA is in terms of EU aims and why the EU was so supportive of its formation.
Nothing is said about the position of the HoR on the issue. The HoR may not take kindly to a Coast Guard affiliated with the GNA along with foreign naval vessels patrolling the eastern coast which it controls.
The European Council released a statement after the Serraj request that said in part:the Council underlines the need to enhance the capacity of EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia to disrupt the business model of human smugglers and trafficking networks and to contribute to broader security in support of the legitimate Libyan authorities. In this regard, the Council welcomes the expressed readiness of the President of the Presidency Council of the Government of National Accord, Mr Serraj, to cooperate with the EU on the basis of these conclusions.EUNAVFOR MED stands for European Union Naval Force in the Mediterranian or Operation Sophia. The Council agreed to extend the mandate of Sophia for a year with two added tasks: - capacity building and training of, and information sharing with, the Libyan Coastguard and Navy, based on a request by the legitimate Libyan authorities taking into account the need for Libyan ownership;- contributing to information sharing, as well as implementation of the UN arms embargo on the High Seas off the coast of Libya on the basis of a new UNSC Resolution.
The Council urged that preparatory work be begun without delay. The Council also stressed the need for coordination with the UN and NATO.
In other Libyan news, militia from Misrata recaptured territory from the Islamic State but now seem stalled at Abu Grein claiming they lack the weapons and ammunition to advance furthers. The militia suffered numerous casualties and were faced with a number of deadly suicide attacks in their advance. While a recent meeting of foreign ministers and the US government are in favor of allowing exceptions to the UN arms embargo to allow arms and ammunition to be sent to GNA-approved forces to fight IS, it may take time for supplies to actually start flowing.

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