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EU must consider ways to support Libya truce -Borrell

Josep Borrell, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission attends a European Union Foreign Ministers council in Brussels, Belgium, January 20, 2020. REUTERS/Johanna Geron

The European Union will discuss all ways to uphold a formal ceasefire in Libya but any peace settlement will need real EU support to make it hold, the EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell said on Monday.

Asked about whether the EU could consider a military peace-keeping mission, Borrell said: “A ceasefire requires someone to take care of it. You cannot say, ‘this is a ceasefire’ and forget about it … Someone has to monitor it, to manage it.”

Foreign powers agreed at a summit in Berlin on Sunday to shore up a shaky truce in Libya, which has been in turmoil since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, as two rival governments in the east and the west vie for power and energy resources.

The EU, which has military missions around the world, has struggled to keep a team of experts in Tripoli to support the U.N.-backed government there due to security concerns, but Borrell has said the EU must do more to defend its interests.

Also asked if the EU’s naval mission off the Libyan coast could be restarted, he said: “I think we have to revive it, yes.”

The EU ceased maritime patrols under its EU operation, called Sophia, at the end of March last year after Italy, where anti-migrant sentiment is rising, said it would no longer receive those rescued at sea.

EU governments did want the mission to continue because they felt it had been effective in dissuading people smugglers and upholding a U.N arms embargo on Libya, meaning Rome’s position remains central to putting boats back on the water.



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