EU seeks UN approval to seize migrant boats, Russia against destruction

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UNITED NATIONS – Europe Thursday in New York, sought UN Security Council’s approval to seize boats used to traffic migrants across the Mediterranean from Libya.

EU leaders agreed in April to “identify, capture and destroy vessels before they are used by traffickers,” but it is unclear how that be achieved and the 28- bloc wants UN authorisation for its operation.

A UN diplomat said on condition of anonymity that a resolution has been drafted by European members of the Security Council on the use of force.

He said the resolution under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, which allowed the use of force, was being drafted by Britain, France, Lithuania and Spain.

The diplomats said that Russia has signaled it would not allow destruction of the vessels.

He said the draft text would authorise the EU to intervene on the high seas, in Libyan territorial waters and onshore in Libya to seize vessels.

He said it would also prevent trafficking, smuggling and illegal migration across the Mediterranean.

The diplomats said Russia, which has veto power on the Security Council, initially appeared supportive of the measures, but drew the line at approving destruction of boats.

Meanwhile, Federica Mogherini, EU Foreign Policy Chief, will brief the Security Council behind closed doors on the proposed operations.
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Diplomats said a draft resolution could be circulated to the 15 council members next week.

UN Secretary Ban Ki-moon has said there was no solution to migrants drowning in the Mediterranean.

“No fewer than 1,800 migrants have already this year, crossing the Mediterranean.

“Some 51,000 have entered Europe by sea, with 30,500 coming via Italy, fleeing war and poverty in Asia, Africa and the Middle East,’’ the UN agency said. (Reuters/NAN)
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