The EU’s “Operation IRINI”, which Greece actively supported, “is a significant push in the efforts by all of us to resolve the Libyan crisis and to establish safety and security in the East Mediterranean,” Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said on Friday.
In a statement released after a videoconference with his fellow EU ministers, Dendias said they also discussed solidarity towards member countries that faced the most tragic repercussions of the coronavirus epidemic, and the coordination of repatriating citizens stuck in countries where pandemic restrictions apply. They also discussed the issue of fake news, he said, and its dissemination, and they assessed the long-term geostrategic fallout of the pandemic.
Operation Irini – from the Greek word for peace – was launched this month to enforce the UN arms embargo and it will be acting according to the UN Security Council resolution. According to EU High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell on March 31, “The goal is to stop the flow of arms to Libya and contribute to a sustainable ceasefire. The operation will deploy naval, aerial and satellite assets. This will allow the European Union to provide the United Nations with a broader picture of possible trafficking of weapons to Libya.”
Borrell said “this is a European Union mission, NATO is not engaged,” and added that its mandate will initally last until March 31, 2021.