Libya’s Glimmer of Hope: EU Helps Draft Border Security Strategy & Slaps Sanctions for Arms Embargo Breach

Written by | Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020

The EU will assist Libya to draft its national strategy of border security and management, according to an internal EU document that spells out what the EU’s border assistance mission in Libya (EUbam) intends to do over t he next half a year. The move indicates that Brussels is making efforts to prevent refugees and migrants from fleeing the war-torn north African country. The 60-page report, drafted partially by EUbam’s head of mission in Libya, Vincenzo Tagliaferri, also provides a detailed account of what it had done over the past seven months, including the launch of a pilot project along with Italy and the EU’s border agency Frontex to train the Libyan coast guard.
Libyan coast guard has played a crucial role in preventing refugees and migrants from fleeing the country – but often sending those ‘saved at sea’ to detention centres, where they face torture or worse. To that end, the document puts emphasis on a so-called ‘white paper’, which, once implemented, “will include a comprehensive reform of border administration, aiming at stabilising control and security of borders and migration administration”. According to the report, the EUbam “has started to work on a draft roadmap, including an implementation plan of the WP (white paper) and aims at starting with the drafting of a National Strategy of Border Security and Management in the upcoming months,” and its is also helping the Libya draft its maritime strategy.
Meanwhile, the EU on Monday (21 September) slapped sanctions on three companies — one Turkish, one Kazakh and one Jordanian — for breaching the UN arms embargo on Libya, sparking an angry reaction from Ankara. The EU has a naval mission operating in waters off Libya which is tasked with policing the embargo and collecting intelligence on violators. “These new listings show the EU’s strategic use of its sanctions regime and ability to react to developments on the ground in support of the political process and to deter past and present perpetrators from further violations,” the EU said in a statement. Turkey slammed the decision in a statement from the country’s foreign ministry: “At a time when efforts are made to reduce tensions in the eastern Mediterranean, making such a wrong decision is extremely unfortunate.” After almost a decade of violent chaos since the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that toppled and killed veteran dictator Muammar Gaddafi, there have recently been signs of progress, with representatives from the two sides meeting for peace talks in Morocco, announcing a surprise ceasefire and pledging national elections.

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