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Germany upbeat on UN approval for EU anti-people smuggling mission


United Nations- image source climateactionprogramme

United Nations- image source climateactionprogramme

Germany on Thursday expressed optimism that the UN Security Council would be able to approve a resolution needed to set up an EU naval mission to fight against people-traffickers transporting migrants to EU waters.

The proposed mission is a crucial plank of the EU’s strategy to fight people traffickers who put migrants on potentially fatal voyages from the North African coast, in particular Libya, towards EU waters.

The EU wants to be able to intercept and board the boats in Libyan waters before they reach European jurisdiction, something that would require a UN resolution.

Speaking on the sidelines of the meeting of NATO foreign ministers in the Turkish city of Antalya, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said he expected such approval to be forthcoming.

“My impression is that there is no veto in principal from one of the veto powers in the Security Council of the United Nations.

“It looks to me that at the current moment it more a question of formulations. I hope that my assessment is right,” he said.

Steinmeier added powers were currently deciding at what point it would make sense to propose a draft resolution that would work.

Steinmeier’s comments indicate that the bloc does not fear obstacles from veto-wielding non-EU permanent Security Council members Russia and China on the issue.

The mission, called Euronavfor Med, already received initial blessing on Wednesday from the 28 member states of the European Union in Brussels, ahead of a meeting of foreign and defence ministers on Monday, diplomatic sources told AFP.

The formal decision to set up the mission should be taken at Monday’s meeting with ministers then expected to ask the European military authorities to set it up, the sources added.

Leading countries in the EU — Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain — have already promised to deploy warships in the mission.

The headquarters of the mission is to be in Rome and it will be lead by Italian Rear Admiral Enrico Credendino, a European diplomat told AFP.

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