Germany’s Foreign Minister Maas seeks to initiate EU rescue mission talks
The EU is currently restricting itself to training the Libyan coast guard, while not saving migrants in the Mediterranean with ships, either. Foreign Minister Maas is now calling for a paradigm shift on the matter.
After the Berlin Libya conference, Maas considers it necessary to rethink the EU rescue mission “Sophia” in the Mediterranean. Concerning the refugee camps in the North African civil war country and during a TV interview, he said: “I cannot say that I think the conditions are inhumane, and then advocate that people be brought back there. We will have to talk about “Sophia” again.”
The EU is currently restricting its mission to training the Libyan coast guard, but it no longer has its ships on site that could save migrants heading for Europe from drowning across the Mediterranean.
“We had already been involved,” Maas reaffirmed. With regard to the results of the Berlin conference on the settlement of the conflict, he added: “And I believe that with the process that has now started, this is one of the points where the European Union must also take responsibility.”
The end of the conflict, he said, would also help improve the situation of migrants detained in Libya. “If we really want to improve the situation there that these prisons will be closed, then it is also a prerequisite for ending the civil war.”
The Libyan leader Fajis al-Sarraj was asked to close these camps. However, even if those responsible concurred, they would be unable to facilitate the latter without an end to the conflict.
According to the German aid organization Mission Lifeline, the peace conference in Berlin brought no concrete progress for refugees in distress. The “mass extinction in the central Mediterranean” was not an issue at the conference, the Dresden sea rescuers criticized. The aid organization was also skeptical about the results of the conference in general.
However, Mission Lifeline welcomed a possible ceasefire in Libya. There was already an arms embargo, but it would not be complied with – “mainly because the EU has withdrawn ships from the Mediterranean to avoid having to rescue refugees,” the organization stated. The results of the Libya conference could “possibly stabilize the country again in the long term.” However, there was “no approach to help the refugees in the water immediately.”
As a result, innocent people were continuing to die every day “when we do not solve this problem together,” Mission Lifeline Chairman Axel Steier said. “We, therefore, call for an immediate resumption of state sea rescue in the central Mediterranean and unconditional support for local private NGOs.”