EU urges UN to authorize humanitarian military operation in Libya

10:34, April 13, 2011      

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EU's high representative for foreign affairs and security policy Catherine Ashton signs in ahead of EU foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg, 12 April 2011. Libyan rebel representative Mahmoud Jibril will meet with EU foreign ministers Tuesday. Libyan rebels refused a road map initiated by the African Union calling for ceasefire Monday. (Xinhua/Thierry Monasse)

Catherine Ashton, the European Union's foreign policy chief, Tuesday urged the United Nations to authorize the EU to launch its humanitarian military operation in Libya.

The EU Foreign Affairs Council gathered in Luxembourg to discuss the EU's southern neighborhood, especially Libya, Syria, Yemen and Bahrain.

The council was expected to adopt conclusions on some additional restrictive measures against Libya. But it would wait for the UN to decide whether they wish the EU to engage with any military assets.

The EU has begun planning a military operation named EUFOR Libya to facilitate humanitarian assistance in Libya, but is waiting for the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) to authorize its deployment.

"European Union stood ready to support in anyway we can the humanitarian operation," Aston said. "If the United Nations asks us to help them with our military support, to get aid into the country, we are ready to do so."

"Let me be clear it is for the UN to decide they wish the EU to engage with any military assets, they must make that decision and they will have to make that decision recognizing the importance of keeping humanitarian operations clearly focused on the humanitarian aspects of what they are trying to do," she said.

Later, Aston would meet with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and leaders of the African Union and the Arab League in Cairo "to consider the future and make our preparations and planning to support the people of Libya."
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