Abuja – European Union (EU) foreign affairs ministers are expected to formally approve a military training mission to Mozambique and potentially endorse sanctions against Lebanese officials during a meeting on Monday.
The bloc’s defence ministers agreed to deploy troops in Mozambique in May, a move that the foreign ministers are now expected to formalise.
The mission would be similar to those already established by the European Union in Mali, the Central African Republic, and Somalia, the bloc’s foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell indicated at the time.
Portugal, which formerly presided over Mozambique as a colony, has already deployed military personnel for training.
Other countries, such as Germany and the Netherlands, have indicated they will not send troops.
Islamist rebels have been carrying out brutal attacks in northern Mozambique since 2017.
More than 530,000 people have been displaced, according to the UN Refugee Agency, and severe hunger is rife.
Experts say the rebellion has its roots in local people’s grievances: The region is very poor and has long been neglected by the government.
Most recently, there had been several attacks on the coastal city of Palma, among others.
The EU ministers could also approve sanctions against Lebanese officials considered to be undermining democracy in the country.
EU diplomats are divided, however, on the likelihood of that happening.
While some said on Friday that they expected ministers to politically endorse sanctions, others were more sceptical, highlighting that many technical and judicial questions remain.
Lebanon is experiencing its worst economic crisis since a 15-year civil war ended in 1990.
The country has also failed to form a new government since October due to wrangling among political rivals. (dpa/NAN)