EU foreign ministers agree on new Libya naval mission, replacing Operation Sophia
European Union's foreign ministers agreed on Monday, though only in principle, on a new mission — which would include naval assets — to monitor Libya's UN arms embargo, according to the German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.
The agreement was also confirmed by the Italian and Austrian foreign ministers.
"We all agreed to create a mission to block the entry of arms into Libya," said Italy's foreign minister, Luigi di Maio.
The bloc's decision includes measures to address concerns that the presence of European ships in the Mediterranean Sea would create a "pull factor" for migrants looking to reach the European Union from Libya.
According to the agreement, the new mission will replace Operation Sophia which was initially launched in 2015 to stop human trafficking from North Africa to Europe, while also enforcing a UN arms embargo.
Details of the new mission will be finalized in the weeks ahead, however; it is expected to have three levels: "in the air, satellite and maritime,'' according to Luxembourgish Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn.