Thursday 8 December 2016

China to hear EU plan for military strikes against migrant smugglers

Published 11/05/2015 | 11:22

Migrants line up to enter a Red Cross tent after disembarking from the Migrant Offshore Aid Station vessel Phoenix in Sicily, southern Italy Credit: AP Photo/Francesco Malavolta
Migrants line up to enter a Red Cross tent after disembarking from the Migrant Offshore Aid Station vessel Phoenix in Sicily, southern Italy Credit: AP Photo/Francesco Malavolta

China's Foreign Ministry said it was willing to listen to a motion calling for the UN Security Council to back intervention in Libya to help stop the flow of migrant boats.

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The European Union's top diplomat Federica Mogherini has proposed sending European military teams to help stabilise Libya if a ceasefire agreement can be agreed between the two rival governments now struggling for power.

For any outside military mission to succeed, consent would be needed from both a Libyan government and the Security Council, where diplomats say both Russia and China, which have the power of veto, may be reluctant.

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Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said China supported international efforts to tackle transnational crime, including illegal immigration, though causes such as poverty also needed to be dealt with.

"We are willing to listen to the relevant party's detailed thoughts," Ms Hua told a daily briefing, when asked if China would support UN action.

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Ms Mogherini, who is due to address the Security Council today, has acknowledged that both agreement in Libya and the backing of the United Nations would be difficult to obtain.

But she has also said she believed the Security Council could be persuaded to support the proposals.

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The breakdown of order in Libya since former leader Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in 2011 has allowed traffickers to send tens of thousands of migrants to Europe in often unseaworthy vessels.

Thousands have drowned in the attempt.

Pressure for action on the migrant crisis grew last month after around 800 people drowned when the overloaded fishing boat they were packed into capsized and sank some 70 miles

Reuters

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