EU mission “Irini”: Bundeswehr mission off Libya extended

Status: 04/29/2022 4:12 p.m

The Bundestag has extended the mandate for German soldiers to take part in the EU mission “Irini” off the coast of Libya by one year. Unlike before, the training of the controversial Libyan coast guard is no longer planned.

The German Navy is participating for another year in the EU mission “Irini” in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Libya. The Bundestag decided to extend the mandate with a large majority. It allows the deployment of up to 300 Bundeswehr soldiers to help enforce the arms embargo on Libya, prevent the country from illegal oil exports and monitor trafficking activities. According to the Bundeswehr, only 30 of their relatives are involved so far.

Not part of the task – unlike the previous mission “Sophia” – is the sea rescue of refugees who want to reach the EU by sea.

Libyan Coast Guard should no longer be trained

The biggest change in the mandate concerns the training of the controversial Libyan Coast Guard. It is no longer part of the tasks of the Bundeswehr. According to the federal government, the reason is repeated incidents in which the coast guard behaved illegally and unacceptably towards refugees and sea rescuers. According to the Ministry of Defence, however, the training has not actually taken place so far.

Bundeswehr monitors the sea area

Chaotic conditions have prevailed in Libya for more than ten years. To end it, parliamentary and presidential elections were supposed to be held last December, but they have been postponed indefinitely due to ongoing conflicts in the country.

In addition to naval ships, the EU’s “Irini” mission also includes aircraft and satellites. According to the government, it should “actively contribute to a stabilizing effect on Libya and to the country’s peace process led by the United Nations.”

According to the Bundeswehr, it is involved with a long-distance maritime reconnaissance aircraft and a ship, which are used alternately. Other German soldiers are deployed at the mission’s headquarters in Rome and on the flagship. According to the information, a total of around 1,000 soldiers from seven nations are involved in “Irini”.

Bundestag decides to extend Irini’s mandate

Bianca Schwarz, ARD Berlin, April 29, 2022 4:28 p.m

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