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EU launches new naval operation off Libya

BRUSSELS, March 31 (KUNA) -- The European Union Tuesday adopted a decision to launch a naval military operation called EUNAVFOR MED IRINI off Libya as from tomorrow, April 1.
IRINI, (Greek for "peace"), will have as its core task the implementation of the UN arms embargo on Libya through the use of aerial, satellite and maritime assets, said an EU statement.
In particular, the mission will be able to carry out inspections of vessels on the high seas off the coast of Libya suspected to be carrying arms or related material to and from Libya.
Further, the new naval mission will monitor and gather information on illicit exports from Libya of petroleum, crude oil and refined petroleum products.
It will also contribute to training of the Libyan Coast Guard and Navy and to the disruption of human smuggling and trafficking networks through information gathering and patrolling by planes.
IRINI will be led by Rear Admiral Fabio Agostini as EU Operation Commander, and its headquarters will be located in Rome, Italy.
The mandate of Operation IRINI will initially last until March 21, 2021.
With the launch of Operation IRINI, the existing EUNAVFOR MED operation in the Mediterranean, SOPHIA, will permanently cease its activities, it noted. (end) nk.hb