EU considers bigger naval presence to tackle Libya security issues

March 7, 2015 14:43
1 minute read.

RIGA - The European Union is discussing with the United Nations ways to bolster security in Libya, including a naval presence, if UN-backed peace talks lead to a settlement, the EU's foreign policy head said on Saturday.

The EU currently has ships that patrol the Mediterranean Sea to help rescue migrants trying to flee from Libya and other North African countries. But Federica Mogherini said this presence could go further.

"We discussed different options for an EU presence, different ways in which the EU can support also through security measures. This could mean also some naval presence," Mogherini told a news conference in the Latvian capital of Riga after talks between EU foreign ministers.

Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni said the EU was looking at reinforcing its naval operation to help to rescue migrants on the high seas as well as bolstering security.

"There are operations for preventing terrorist threats and the Italian navy is doing its work and a lot depends from the success of the negotiations in Libya," he said.

Italy was due to begin annual naval exercises earlier this week near the coast of Libya.

On Friday, Mogherini said an EU team could monitor a ceasefire if one was agreed in Libya, or it could protect basic infrastructure.

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