Secretary of Defense Klaudia Tanner (ÖVP) welcomed this step in the sense of international solidarity and cooperation: “At the moment the focus of the Federal Army is on coping with the corona crisis. However, we must not lose sight of the other latent security challenges. By participating in the EU mission, we contribute to stabilization Libya and to combat networks of smugglers and traffickers. From an Austrian point of view, it was particularly important that this new mission should not be a pulling force for tug beings, “said Tanner according to the broadcast.
UN arms embargo on Libya – air surveillance
“Irini” focuses on enforcing the UN arms embargo against Libya through air surveillance, satellites and maritime components. The mission also contributes to the implementation of UN measures against illegal oil exports.
Like “Sophia”, “Irini” helps break up tug and human trafficking networks. However, “Sophia” expired at the end of March and had ended in the ongoing dispute over the distribution of boat refugees. Amongst other things Austria strongly opposed the admission of migrants rescued from distress. In order to prevent the EU ships from being headed for by migrants’ boats, “Irini” should operate away from the escape routes. It was stated on behalf of the mission that the EU operation should immediately withdraw from the area if a suction effect was detected, he emphasized Ministry of Defense.
In addition to the 15 Austrian staff officers, up to 20 people can temporarily leave, according to the broadcast Austria for the purpose of air transportation or medical evacuation flights using C-130 “Hercules”.