UN Security Council authorizes inspection of vessels for migrants from Libya

epa07371756 The frigate F213 'Augsburg' (R) of the German Navy (Bundesmarine) returns from the EUNAVFOR MED (European Union Naval Force ? Mediterranean) Operation SOPHIA to its home port Wilhelmshaven, northern Germany, 15 February 2019. After five month in the Mediterranean Sea, the almost 30 years old vessel finishes its last official mission before being decommissioned in late 2019. EPA-EFE/FOCKE STRANGMANN

The UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution Friday authorizing member nations to inspect vessels on the high seas off the coast of Libya suspected of smuggling migrants or engaging in human trafficking from Libya for another year.

The German-sponsored resolution also authorized the seizure of vessels confirmed used for migrant smuggling or human trafficking from Libya.

According to the Associated Press, the resolution condemns all acts of migrant smuggling and human trafficking into, through and from the Libyan territory and off the coast of Libya, which undermine further the process of stabilization of Libya and endanger the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.

Libya, since after the 2011 revolution, has emerged as a major transit point for African and Arab migrants fleeing war and poverty to Europe.

The European Union established a naval mission, Operation Sophia, in 2015 after tens of thousands of migrants began attempting potentially perilous crossings of the Mediterranean in search of better lives in Europe.

But Italy blocked Operation Sophia, claiming that the warships attracted migrants to Europe’s shores. Planes and drones were still used.

In March, the EU launched a new naval mission in the Mediterranean Sea aimed at enforcing the UN arms embargo on Libya, dubbed Irini, the Greek word for “peace,” and said it would use aerial, satellite and maritime assets.

The Presidential Council of the Libyan Government of National Accord welcomed the new naval mission but said it was biased to one party (Haftar) over the other as it was centered on inspecting the sea only not including the land and air borders, from where Haftar’s militias had been receiving military backup and mercenary fighters.

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