Friday, May 15, 2015

The E.U. seeks U.N. authority for Military Action against Migrant Smugglers

Footage filmed by a crew member shows a rescue of 
migrants on a sinking rubber boat in the Mediterranean 
between Libya and Sicily earlier this month. (AP)
U.N. authority/approval? You're kidding me right?
The European Union began a push Monday for U.N. authorization to deploy military force in the Mediterranean to stop migrant smugglers, even as a proposal to more evenly share the burden of refugees foundered amid intra-European divisions.
The UN estimates that 60,000 people have tried to cross 
the Mediterranean this year
At U.N. headquarters in New York on Monday, E.U. foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini told the Security Council that the unprecedented flow of migrants seeking to reach Europe by crossing the Mediterranean has necessitated “an exceptional response.”
“We cannot do it alone. This has to be a common global effort. That’s why we count on your support to save lives and dismantle criminal organizations that are exploiting people’s desperation,” Mogherini told the 15-nation council.
The E.U. proposal would allow the bloc to deploy military force to seize and destroy smugglers’ ships before they take on their human cargo.
E.U. leaders see the program as an essential step to curb the dangerous crossings, which have left 1,800 people dead this year as the packed and poorly maintained ships have sunk, run aground or overturned on the high seas. The death toll is 20 times as high as it was at this time last year.
But it is unclear whether the E.U. can win Security Council support. Russia has said it opposes any attempt to destroy smugglers’ ships, arguing that the owners in many cases do not know the purpose for which the vessels are being used. Authorities in Libya, the anarchic and divided nation that is the primary source of migrant smuggling, have been either cool to the idea or openly hostile.
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