The Bundeswehr has dispatched a frigate towards the Libyan coast to monitor compliance with the UN arms embargo against the civil war country. The frigate “Hamburg” cast off with 250 crew members on board in Wilhelmshaven on Tuesday morning, the Federal Ministry of Defense announced. It should reach its operational area in the Mediterranean in about two weeks. The naval ship participates there in the EU naval mission “Irini”.
According to the ministry, the task of the German frigate is maritime surveillance. The aim is to prevent violations of the United Nations arms embargo on Libya; control measures should be taken for this purpose.
The Bundestag had already given the mandate in May. Accordingly, the Bundeswehr with up to 300 soldiers can participate in the “Irini” mission. The mandate will initially apply until the end of April 2021.
The EU decided “Irini” to enforce the UN arms embargo against Libya at the end of March. At the beginning of May, the mission started its work with the first ship. The Bundeswehr was initially only involved with a reconnaissance aircraft.
The basis for the operation is a resolution of the UN Security Council. This will allow participants to inspect ships in international waters off the Libyan coast if it is believed that they are violating the arms embargo on Libya. This is one of the core components of the EU Irini mission.
Even if the rescue of refugees at sea is not one of the core tasks of “Irini”, the frigate “Hamburg” will accept refugees in distress according to international law if they encounter appropriate situations during their mission. “When people are in distress, everyone is called to help there,” said a spokesman for the Federal Ministry of Defense on Monday. According to the Federal Foreign Office, the rescued are first to be brought to Greece and from there to be distributed to other EU countries.
In the conflict in Libya, the unified government recognized by the United Nations and the troops of General Chalifa Haftar and his allies are facing each other. Both are supported by different foreign powers, including arms supplies.
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