Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/libya : Options Abound for Eufor Libya Mission

Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/libya : Options Abound for Eufor Libya Mission

Article excerpt

The EUFOR Libya operations plan (OPLAN) - in the last phases of planning - should be ready in a week and several intervention options are being considered. It will all depend on the way in which the situation evolves. Moreover, the Libya contact group is set to meet in Rome, in early May, mainly to discuss the question of temporary aid for Libyan rebels.

The objective of the EUFOR Libya mission, adopted by the Council on 1 April, is to deploy military means to humanitarian ends. Implementing the mission is dependent on a formal request from the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). The request has yet to be made. However, it "could come from other organisations, such as the International Organisation for Migration (IOM)," according to a MEP who wished to remain anonymous. Strictly speaking, a simple mention in the Council's decision is sufficient to launch the mission, said an EU source.

Regarding deployment of troops on the ground, a sensitive aspect of the mission, "the question is knowing what it is we're talking about," said the diplomat. The objective is not to deploy hundreds of thousands of soldiers but to provide a military presence, exclusively land army, to do logistic and security work with the sole objective of supporting humanitarian action.

The mission could take place in Misrata, the Libyan city bombarded by Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's armed forces, where the humanitarian situation is alarming. "We must find a way to improve the situation" on the humanitarian level, as with the evacuation of civilians, said the diplomat. NATO has launched a humanitarian operation in the city - this operation could well be a test of potential future operations since "if it is difficult to lead humanitarian operations without military means, they will call on us".

As a consequence, "caution must be taken". …

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