EU launches Operation IRINI to enforce Libya arms embargo

The European Union is stepping up its efforts to enforce the UN arms embargo on Libya, thereby contributing to the peace process in the country, through the launch of a new CSDP (Common Security and Defence Policy) military operation in the Mediterranean.

The Council today adopted a decision launching Operation EUNAVFOR MED IRINI.

Only political solutions and the full respect of the UN arms embargo will bring a solution to the Libyan crisis. But diplomacy cannot succeed unless it is backed by action. This operation will be essential and a clear contribution to promoting peace in our immediate neighbourhood through a permanent ceasefire.

Josep Borrell, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and President of the Council

IRINI, (Greek for “peace”), will have as its core task the implementation of the UN arms embargo through the use of aerial, satellite and maritime assets. In particular the mission will be able to carry out inspections of vessels on the high seas off the coast of Libya suspected to be carrying arms or related material to and from Libya in accordance with United Nations Security Council Resolution  2292 (2016).

As secondary tasks, EUNAVFOR MED IRINI will also:

  • monitor and gather information on illicit exports from Libya of petroleum, crude oil and refined petroleum products
  • contribute to the capacity building and training of the Libyan Coast Guard and Navy in law enforcement tasks at sea
  • contribute to the disruption of the business model of human smuggling and trafficking networks through information gathering and patrolling by planes

IRINI will be led by Rear Admiral Fabio Agostini as EU Operation Commander, and its headquarters will be located in Rome, Italy.

The mandate of Operation IRINI will initially last until 31 March 2021, and will be under the close scrutiny of EU Member States, that will exercise political control and strategic direction through the Political and Security Committee (PSC), under the responsibility of the Council and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

In parallel with the launch of Operation IRINI, the existing EUNAVFOR MED operation in the Mediterranean, SOPHIA, will permanently cease its activities.

Background

Participants at the Berlin Conference on Libya on 19 January 2020 committed in particular to fully respect and implement the arms embargo established by the United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCR) 1970 (2011), 2292 (2016) and 2473 (2019).

Against this background, the Council reached a political agreement to launch a new operation in the Mediterranean, aimed at implementing the UN arms embargo on Libya by using aerial, satellite and maritime assets on 17 February 2020.

EUNAVFOR MED operation SOPHIA was launched on 22 June 2015 as part of the EU’s comprehensive approach to migration, and will cease permanently on 31 March.

Source: consilium.europa.eu

Former Irish naval vessel sold to Libyan civil war leader

LE Aisling, via Wikipedia and https://www.flickr.com/people/bcie

UN Security Council traces ownership via UAE to Libya, contrary to sanctions

Details of how a decommissioned Irish naval vessel, the LÉ Aisling, sold by the Government for €110,000 in 2017, was bought by a Libyan warlord for $1.5 million (€1.35 million), are contained in a report that has been submitted to the UN Security Council.

The former Irish coastal patrol vessel has since been fitted out with three cannons it was originally designed to carry, and renamed the Al Karama (Dignity).

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Source: irishtimes.com

UAE takes over the chair of IORA

Ismail Sebugwaawo

Piracy, armed robbery, drug smuggling and human trafficking are some of the major challenges faced in the Indian Ocean waters, according to members of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA).

Speaking at a Press conference on the sidelines of the 19th meeting of the Council of Ministers of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) that concluded in Abu Dhabi on Thursday, Khurshed Alam, secretary of the Bangladesh Ministry of Foreign Affairs and deputy secretary-general of the IORA, said almost 40,000 ships are passing through the waters of Indian Ocean daily.

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Source: khaleejtimes.com

 

US eyes 55-ship surveillance mission off Iran in Nov.: source

Persian Gulf/SoH

WASHINGTON (Kyodo) — U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration is planning to form an international maritime surveillance mission involving 55 vessels in a key waterway off Iran in November, a source familiar with the plan said Thursday.

The plan came to light amid heightened tensions between the United States and Iran following recent attacks on major oil facilities in Saudi Arabia, an incident Washington has blamed on Tehran.

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Source: mainichi.jp

UAE says joining global maritime security coalition

Persian Gulf/SoH

CAIRO, Sept 19 (Reuters) – The United Arab Emirates is joining an international maritime mission to protect commercial shipping in the Strait of Hormuz and other areas, state news agency WAM said on Thursday.

The ​​operation area for the International Maritime Security Construct covers the Strait of Hormuz, Bab al-Mandab, the Sea of ​​Oman and the Arabian Gulf, WAM said.

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Source: reuters.com

Protecting the Strait of Hormuz essential

Persian Gulf/SoH

UAE wholly endorses international efforts to safeguard vital maritime passage

A significant proportion of the global economy depends on the free flow of maritime traffic. The ships that navigate the waters of Arabian Gulf through the Strait of Hormuz carry one-third of the world’s petrochemical and energy needs — an essential artery that keeps oil pumping around the planet, powering industry, energy and global trade. The free movement of those ships is vital.

Simply put, the maritime trade in our regional waters cannot be interrupted. Those vessels are the lifeblood of commerce, trade and energy, and anyone who interferes in their safe passage or impedes their activities is a saboteur of the interests of all who depend on their cargoes. Yet sabotage and piracy now have reared their head, all thanks to the activities of the regime in Iran.

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Source: gulfnews.com

Egypt, UAE, US Kick off Drills to Bolster Maritime Security

Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and the United States kicked off on Monday a joint drill aimed at bolstering regional maritime security.

Naval and air forces from the three countries will take part in the “Eagle Salute – Eagle Response 2019” exercise, taking place in the Red Sea. Saudi Arabia is participating as an observer, said Egypt’s military spokesman.

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Source: aawsat.com

U.S. unsure about circumstances of tanker towed to Iran

DUBAI (Reuters) – U.S. officials say they are unsure whether an oil tanker towed into Iranian waters was seized by Iran or rescued after facing mechanical faults as Tehran asserts, creating a mystery at sea at a time of high tension in the Gulf.

The MT Riah disappeared from ship tracking maps when its transponder was switched off in the Strait of Hormuz on July 14. Its last position was off the coast of the Iranian island of Qeshm in the strait.

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Source: reuters.com

Saudi Arabia moves to secure Yemen Red Sea ports after UAE drawdown

Aziz El YaakoubiMohamed Ghobari

DUBAI/ADEN (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s military in Yemen has moved in to secure two strategic Red Sea ports and the Bab al-Mandeb Strait after its leading ally the United Arab Emirates substantially reduced its presence there, four sources familiar with the matter said.

The UAE has drawn down its numbers in some parts of Yemen, where it had set up large bases amid a four-year-old multi-layered war that is widely seen as a proxy battle between regional rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran.

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Source: reuters.com

UAE: Not enough evidence to blame Gulf tanker attacks on Iran

‘If other countries have clear information, I am sure the international community will easily listen to them,’ says Emirati foreign minister on Wednesday

The United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan said on Wednesday that no country could be held responsible for the latest attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf.

Speaking during a press conference with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Moscow, Al-Nahyan said his country needs “clear and convincing evidence” regarding the recent attacks that targeted four vessels off the UAE coast last month, including two Saudi oil tankers.

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Source: middleeasteye.net