26. April 2016 · Kommentare deaktiviert für NATO soll im Sommer Boat-people mit Schiffsblockade aufhalten · Kategorien: EU, Libyen · Tags: ,

The liberal Newspaper of Malta, The Malta Independent, writes today about ideas and plans to blockade the Libyan coast with forces of the Eastern Mediterranean NATO and EMF joint-operation “Operation Active Endeavor”.

Quelle: The Independent

NATO to blockade Libyan coast this summer to stop central Mediterranean migrant flows

NATO is planning a naval blockade of the Libyan coat this summer to close off the central Mediterranean migration route, as the numbers of migrants using the route, which features Malta as a central point, are expected to surge.

The military alliance is reportedly just three months away from launching the mission, according to Italian Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti, who revealed the plans as the leaders of the US, Britain, France, Germany and Italy met in Hanover, Germany yesterday.

The Libya mission will be up for final approval by NATO leaders at a Warsaw summit scheduled for 7 July, Pinotti said in an interview with Italian newspaper La Stampa.

The blockade will be based on a current NATO mission underway between Turkey and Greece.

The plan will also incorporate parts of a broader Italian strategy to repatriate migrants found to have no claim for asylum, in other words, purely economic migrants, back to their home countries.

The repatriation plans have been heavily criticised by human rights groups and even Pope Francis, since they make an arbitrary distinction between genuine asylum seekers and economic migrants.

More than 350,000 migrants world have reached Italy on boats from Libya since the beginning of 2014.

Aid organizations say over half the arrivals have a clear right to humanitarian protection in Europe from persecution or conflict, and many more have asylum claims worthy of proper consideration.  The boat people arriving this year have however been overwhelmingly from sub-Saharan Africa—a region the European Union considers generally safe for people to be returned to.

Pinotti said in the interview: “At the NATO level we have asked for Operation Active Endeavor to be recalibrated from an anti-terrorist operation in the Eastern Mediterranean to one which oversees the Libyan coast.”

The idea, she said, has been positively received.

Asked if she expected a green light at the Warsaw summit, Pinotti replied: “Yes, certainly for the coordination of missions in the Mediterranean. At this summit the proposal should become an effective decision.”

The United States on Monday offered its backing for a NATO naval operation off Libya.

“Barack Obama said he was willing to commit NATO assets to block the traffic in human beings and the people smugglers that we refer to as modern slavers,” Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi told reporters after meeting the US president.

Under Italy’s proposals, an existing NATO mission, Operation Active Endeavour, would be “recalibrated” into one overseeing the Libyan coast.

Any such operation, however, would be complicated given the presence of Islamic State fighters in some coastal regions of Libya, but the NATO presence could certainly deter traffickers.

Libya’s new national unity government last week offered to sign up to a Turkey-style deal with Italy to take back migrants.  Such an accord had been seen as unlikely because of rights and safety concerns, but Renzi said on Monday he did not see why it could not happen.

Italy is also preparing to lead a UN-backed peacekeeping force into Libya, if and when the new government is deemed to have obtained sufficient authority to ask for international help in stabilizing the country.  Pinotti said Italy and several allies were prepared to guarantee the security of the force, expected to be around 6,000 strong.

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