EU extends mandate of naval operation in Mediterranean

The EU has extended the mandate of its naval operation targeting migrant smuggling in the Mediterranean and tasked it with monitoring illegal oil trafficking from Libya. Operation Sophia, which has naval ships and aircraft monitoring the Mediterranean, aims to disrupt smuggling networks and train Libya’s coastguard as a way of stemming the flow of desperate migrants attempting the risky crossing from Libya to Italy in unseaworthy boats. On Tuesday, the European Council broadened the operation’s mandate to conduct surveillance and gather intelligence on illegal oil exports from Libya and monitor Libyan coastguard members it has trained. The operation’s mandate, which had been due to expire Thursday, has been extended until the end of 2018. RT news

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