Russia says destroying Libya migrant boats 'going too far'

By REUTERS
May 8, 2015 01:22
1 minute read.

Russia said on Thursday that Europe should model its planned operations to tackle migrant smuggling across the Mediterranean from Libya on anti-piracy patrols in waters off Somalia, but that it would be too extreme to destroy the boats used.

European Union leaders agreed last month to "identify, capture and destroy vessels before they are used by traffickers," but it is unclear how that may be achieved and the 28-nation bloc wants UN authorization for its operation.

European members of the UN Security Council - Britain, France, Lithuania and Spain - are drafting a resolution to authorize intervention on the high seas, in Libyan territorial waters and onshore in Libya to seize vessels.

Russia's UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said of the bid to destroy the vessels: "We think it's just going too far."

"We think that we should stay within the scope of what we have, roughly what we have for the piracy situation off the coast of Somalia. We have a good precedent, so why not use it," he told reporters.

The UN Security Council resolution authorizing the anti-piracy operations calls for the seizure and disposal of "boats, vessels, arms, and other related equipment used in piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia."

The EU has said it plans to use its anti-piracy "Atalanta" operation off Somalia as a model for Mediterranean migrant operations. That mission specifically targeted a Somali pirate base onshore in May 2012, destroying several boats.


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