Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday criticized the European Union’s decision to launch a maritime effort focused on enforcing the UN arms embargo around Libya, accusing the European states that have agreed to the operation of “interfering in the region.”
Erdogan also hailed a decision by Libya’s UN-supported government to withdraw from talks with rivals following an attack Tuesday on the sea port of the Libyan capital, Tripoli. The US called for the talks to be resumed “quickly.”
EU foreign ministers agreed earlier this week to end ‘Operation Sophia’, the bloc’s naval mission in the Mediterranean Sea, and launch a maritime effort focused more on implementing the UN arms embargo around Libya.
‘Operation Sophia’ was set up in 2015 as tens of thousands of migrants headed across the sea from North Africa to Europe. Its aim was to crack down on migrant smugglers, but also to enforce the 2011 arms embargo, which is routinely being flouted. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said several European countries had offered to take part in the new operation.