By Tim Nanns
The EU Foreign Affairs Council agreed Monday for High Representative Federica Mogherini to draw up proposals for an EU mission to Libya potentially taking place after successful peace negotiations.
In a Council statement, its members urged Mogherini to come up with proposals on “possible CSDP [Common Security and Defence Policy] activities […] in close coordination with the UN, Libya, key partners and regional actors”. This is to come “an agreement on a Government of National Unity” has been reached, along with other unspecified security arrangements.
Mogherini stated her wish to draw up such proposals on Sunday according to the Reuters news agency. In the same report, several EU officials and diplomats expressed concern on the chaotic situation in the country and the resulting necessity of sending military personnel on any kind of mission.
Before the Council’s meeting, Mogherini told journalists it is a “crisis that affects […] the region, but also the European Union”, and spoke of discussing concrete steps with the ministers.
A possible EU mission is strongly dependant on the ongoing peace talks held in Rabat, Morocco, between the rivalling factions in the Libyan civil war. The talks, headed by UN special envoy Bernardino Leon, are due to continue on Thursday. The Council’s statement also called on “all regional actors and neighbours of Libya to use their influence […] to ensure a successful outcome of the negotiations” while again reaffirming that negotiations are the only viable solution to the ongoing conflict.
So far the EU and the US have refrained from military intervention despite Egyptian calls for international support against the “Islamic State” in Libya. A possible EU mission will only take place if a united government is installed first. Yet the outlines of this mission are still vague with the High Representative still to work out proposals.
The EU already had sent border security personnel to Libya in 2013, but they were forced to move to Tunisia during the civil war a year later. A new mission would necessarily require a request by the Libyan government itself and a UN mandate.