European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said on Friday she had not given up hope of winning backing from the United Nations Security Council for international intervention in Libya to help stop the flow of migrant boats.
Mogherini has proposed sending European military teams to help stabilise Libya if a ceasefire agreement can be agreed between the two rival governments which are currently struggling for power in conditions of near anarchy.
On Monday Federica Mogherini, the EU’s chief foreign and security policy coordinator, is to brief the UN security council in New York on the plans for a “chapter seven” resolution authorising the use of force. The British draft is believed to call for the “use of all means to destroy the business model of the traffickers.”
This would entail EU vessels in Libyan territorial waters, including the Royal Navy flagship HMS Bulwark currently in Malta, and deploying helicopter gunships to “neutralise” identified traffickers’ ships used to send tens of thousands of migrants from sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East on the short but highly risky voyage from the Libyan coast to the shores of southern Italy.
Britain is drafting the UN security council resolution that would authorise the mission, said senior officials in Brussels. It would come under Italian command, have the participation of around 10 EU countries, including Britain, France, Spain, and Italy, and could also drag in Nato although there are no plans for initial alliance involvement.
For any outside military mission to succeed, consent would be needed from both a Libyan government and the Security Council, where diplomats say both Russia and China, which have the power of veto, may be reluctant.
Mogherini, who is due to address the Security Council on Monday, acknowledged that both agreement in Libya and the backing of the United Nations would be difficult to obtain. But she said she believed the Security Council could be persuaded to support the proposals.
“The option of a Security Council resolution is not impossible,” she told a conference in Florence, adding that she would be counting on support from Lithuania, which holds the council’s rotating chair in May, and on Spain, which is also a non-permanent member this year.
“There is a new and very important role for Europe to play,” she said.