The EU Foreign Affairs Council met in Brussels on Monday (17 July) to talk about the political crisis in Libya, the EU-led missions in the Mediterranean and relations between the EU and North Korea. The EU Foreign Ministers also laid the foundations for a new mission in Iraq within the framework of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP).
Resolving the political crisis in Libya
Looking to the situation in Libya, the representatives of the EU member states emphasised that stability could not be achieved in the crisis-torn country through the use of force. They reaffirmed their support for the Government of National Accord under Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, which is recognised by the United Nations as the legitimate government. At the same time, they welcomed Ghassan Salamé’s nomination as the new Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General. The Special Representative is to play a mediation role in efforts to reach political agreement in Libya.
Europe as an actor in foreign and defence policy
Within the scope of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), the participants in the Foreign Affairs Council agreed to extend the EU Border Assistance Mission in Libya (EUBAM Libya) until 31 December 2018. This mission cooperates with the Libyan authorities on border management.
In this context, the Council also discussed extending the EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia, a naval operation intended to combat smuggling in the southern Mediterranean. So that the mandate for the mission can be extended, outstanding points are to be clarified by the end of the month. The Council also endorsed restrictions on the export of inflatable boats (dinghies) and outboard motors with the aim of making it harder for smugglers to operate in the region.
Clear stance on North Korea
The Foreign Affairs Council condemned North Korea’s latest missile tests, saying they violated international law and represented a serious threat to international security. Ignoring several UN Security Council resolutions, North Korea most recently fired a ballistic missile on 4 July. The EU Foreign Affairs Council urged North Korea to refrain from any further provocative action. The EU supports South Korea in building a credible dialogue with North Korea and envisages confidence-building measures.
New EU civilian mission in Iraq
Also on Monday, the Council adopted a crisis management concept for a new civilian CSDP mission in Iraq. This mission is intended in particular to help the Iraqi authorities to implement the civilian aspects of the Iraqi security strategy.