Operation Irini mandate extended until 2023

Photo: EU Visit to the Sigonella Air base: Josep Borrell Fontelles, in the centre.

The Council extended until 31 March 2023 the mandate of the EU Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) military operation in the Mediterranean - EUNAVFOR MED Irini. It was launched on 31 March 2020, shortly after the Berlin Conference on Libya in January 2020, as a concrete contribution on the part of the EU to the process set up by the international community to support the return to peace and stability in Libya.

The decision was taken in the wake of the Strategic Review of the operation carried out by the Political and Security Committee. In this context, the Council has defined more precisely the practical arrangements for the disposal of items seized by the operation when implementing the UN arms embargo on Libya.

In his speech delivered ten days ago in Italy, at the Sigonella Naval Air Station Airport, High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell stated that in all his official visits and meetings where Libya is discussed the importance of Irini's role is always underlined.

“I want to tell it to you in order to praise your work. I want to thank Admiral Agostini and all of you at all levels of commandment for your work and dedication. Without it, without you, we would not be where we stay today,” HR Borrell underscored.

Irini’s core task is to contribute to the implementation of the UN arms embargo on Libya, established by the UN Security Council Resolution 1970 (2011), through the use of aerial, satellite and maritime assets.

The mission is mandated to carry out inspections of vessels on the high seas off the Libyan coast suspected to be carrying arms or related material to and from Libya in violation of the arms embargo on Libya. It does this in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 2292 (2016) and subsequent UNSC resolutions.

In addition, Operation Irini monitors violations perpetrated via aerial and land routes. It shares the information collected with the United Nations.

As secondary tasks, Irini also monitors and gathers information on illicit exports from Libya of petroleum, crude oil and refined petroleum products and contributes to the capacity building and training of the Libyan Coast Guard and Navy.

It contributes as well to the disruption of the business model of human smuggling and trafficking networks through information gathering and patrolling by planes.

The Operation Irini is led by Rear Admiral Fabio Agostini as EU Operation Commander, and its headquarters are located in Rome, Italy.


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