The training of twenty members of the Libyan Coast Guard and Navy, began on January 30th in Crete. The training is part of the EUNAVFOR Med Sophia operation and covers search and rescue matters, taking into account various aspects of human rights and maritime law.
This training activity is part of the provisions of the MOU signed in August 2016 between EUNAVFOR MED Sophia and Libya and will be implemented throughout the course of 2017, in various parts of the Mediterranean. The main objective of the program is to strengthen Libyan capacities, in order to combat smuggling and particularly illegal immigration, which has caused large number of casualties in the Libyan territorial waters.
The European Naval Force Med (EUNAVFOR MED) Sophia operation is the EU’s military contribution to the fight against trafficking circuits operating in the southern zone of the central Mediterranean. So far, thanks to actions promoted under the operation 32,000 immigrants have been saved of which 1900 were minors and more than a hundred dealers have been arrested.
The contribution of Greece in the training activity ENFM, confirms a high interest in empowering Libyan authorities from facing the refugee/migration flows alone, it also contributes to the EU’s wider efforts to combat illegal immigration within the EU’s comprehensive approach as well as helping to further promote bilateral relations with Libya following the recent visit of the Greek Foreign Minister to Tripoli (28/11/2016). Furthermore it highlights the Maritime Training Center Interdiction and the broader role of maritime safety
It is worth noting that Greece has recently achieved a part in the Contact Group of European countries on Libya, along with Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Holland and the presiding country of the EU Council. This development is a recognition of the role that Greece wants and can play in the stabilization of the Mediterranean region since it now has the opportunity to participate in the formation of decisions on a regional level./IBNA