We have noticed you are using an ad blocker
To continue providing news and award winning journalism, we rely on advertising revenue.
To continue reading, please turn off your ad blocker or whitelist us.
WikiLeaks has released a "classified report" about the first six months of Operation Sophia, the EU military intervention against refugee boats in Libya and Mediterranean.
The leaked report is dated 29 January 2016 and written by the operation commander, Rear Admiral Enrico Credendino of the Italian Navy. It allegedly provides statistics on refugee flows and outlines the phases of Operation Sophia, including future strategies of the operation. The report has been published for the European Union Military Committee and the Political and Security Committee of the EU.
According to the report, Operation Sophia is awaiting the right circumstances to transition from Phase 2A of the project to Phase 2B. This would allow the Operation to move from operating in high seas to operating in Libyan Territorial Waters. However, due to the unsteady government situation in Libya, the EU has had to hold off from transitioning to the next phase of the Operation. WikiLeaks indicated that following a move into Libyan waters, EU operations might extend onto Libyan shores.
A WikiLeaks statement read: "The report presses the responsible EU bodies to help speed up the process of forming a 'reliable' government in Libya that in turn is expected to 'invite' EU forces to operate within their Territorial Waters and later even give permission to extend the EU military operations onshore."
The report published by WikiLeaks notes that their "exit strategy" involves ensuring that a "well-resourced Libyan Coastguard can protect their own borders and prevent irregular migration taking place from their shores". It also mentions an "EU comprehensive approach to help secure their invitation to operate inside [Libyan] territory". The report then urges EU leaders to "apply democratic pressure" to bring a Libyan government into place so that they can continue with the Operation.
Credendino appears to write in the report: "We are ready to move to phase 2B (Territorial Waters) where we can make a more significant impact on the smuggler and traffickers business model. However, in order to move into the following phases we need to have a government of national accord with which to engage. A suitable legal finish is absolutely fundamental to the transition to phase 2B (Territorial Waters) as without this, we cannot be effective."
The report refers to Operation Sophia as having been "effective", stating that "smugglers can no longer operate with impunity in international waters", and that they were forced to stay within Libyan Territorial Waters or they would be "apprehended" by Operation Sophia assets.
The report indicated that the months between July and October saw the highest number of refugee and migrant flow in the Mediterranean and that Operation Sophia has "completed the rescue" of 8,336 migrants since it began. It also said that the Operation has also had 46 individuals detained by Italian authorities and investigated for trafficking and smuggling crimes.