UN council eyes vote on European Union action against migrant smugglers

The text drafted under Chapter 7 of the UN charter, which authorizes use of force, would limit the UN mandate to a period of one year.

AFP| Updated: Oct 08, 2015, 11:02 AM IST
UN council eyes vote on European Union action against migrant smugglers

United Nations, United States:  The UN Security Council is expected to vote, possibly as early as Thursday, on a draft resolution authorizing European military action against migrant smugglers in the high seas off Libya's coast, diplomats said.

European warships launched Operation Sophia on Wednesday to seize traffickers' boats in international waters and stem the tide of migrants making the perilous journey across the Mediterranean.

The British-drafted measure would give UN approval to the naval task force, which was not mandatory for the European Union to take action but would provide Operation Sophia with greater legitimacy.

The measure would authorize European naval forces to board ships for inspection, seize them and even dispose of the vessels suspected of being used by migrant smugglers.

The text drafted under Chapter 7 of the UN charter, which authorizes use of force, would limit the UN mandate to a period of one year.

Presented to the Security Council last month, the draft resolution ran into opposition from African countries and Venezuela, while Russia raised questions about the measure.

African countries, however, appeared to have changed their stance after Libya's internationally-recognized authorities said they had dropped their opposition to the proposed resolution.

"The Libyan authorities are content with that work which I hope means we will be ready to vote on it in the coming days," British Ambassador Matthew Rycroft told reporters.