As concrete follow up to the 18 April Foreign Affairs Council, EU Ambassadors in the Political Security Committee agreed yesterday to extend the mandate of Operation Sophia by one year with continued emphasis on its core mandate of disrupting the business model of human smugglers and traffickers.
It was also decided to add two further supporting tasks to the operation; 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, and 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.
This will now require political endorsement by the Council. The Operational Commander has been requested to urgently start operational planning on these two additional tasks, and preparatory work, including on planning, will continue in the coming days.
These developments are very welcome given the urgency of the situation in Libya. I will have the opportunity to discuss this further with the Libyan Prime Minister in Vienna on Monday at the Libya conference convened by the United States and Italy.