World Bulletin / News Desk
European Union foreign ministers agreed on Monday to launch a naval operation against gangs smuggling migrants to Europe from Libya, although the mission will be limited to intelligence-gathering for now due to lack of U.N. authority.
"The operation is being launched today. Let me be very clear: The targets are not the migrants, the targets are those that are making money on their lives and too often on their deaths. It is part of our effort to save lives," EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini told reporters in Luxembourg where the foreign ministers were meeting.
The mission will start "in the coming days", Mogherini said.
"EU has never taken the issue of migration as seriously as we are doing now," added EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini in a statement on Monday.
"With this operation, we are targeting the business model of those who benefit from the misery of migrants," she said.
Lacking both pre-conditions, the EU will limit its operations for now to sending ships and aircraft to patrol in international waters of the Mediterranean to gather information on the smugglers' activities.
EU officials still hope for Libyan consent and a U.N. resolution later that would allow them to tackle the traffickers. The EU would only be able to move to more aggressive actions if EU foreign ministers gave the go-ahead.
Britain, France, Lithuania and Spain, which all belong to the 15-member Security Council, had been drafting a resolution to approve the EU operation under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, which allows the use of force.Last Mod: 22 Haziran 2015, 14:13