On 27 August 2020, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs): Jordi Solé and Diana Riba i Giner of the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance posed a written parliamentary question to the Vice-President of the Commission and High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell:
“Turkey has been sending arms shipment to Libya in spite of the UN arms embargo imposed on Libya. A new investigation coordinated by Lighthouse Reports has now brought to light that EU companies such as the Airbus Group provide logistical support to ongoing Turkish air force flights from Turkey to Libyan territory. The report also shows not only that this support is provided on EU soil, but that at least five EU governments (Spain, Germany, Belgium, France and Italy), as members of the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation, participate in the contract with the Airbus Group that allows and facilitates Turkey to continue fuelling the Libyan Civil War.
Given that Article 2 of Common Position 2008/944/CFSP establishes the obligation for an export licence to respect sanctions adopted by the UN Security Council, as well as International Humanitarian Law in the country of destination:
1. What actions will the Commission undertake to enforce EU law on arms exports and UN resolutions, so that EU Member States stop facilitating Turkish arms exports to Libya?
2. When will the Commission open an investigation to clarify whether Member States have facilitated Turkish arms export to Libya?”
On 4 February 2021, High Representative and Vice-President Borrell responded on behalf of the European Commission stating: “The control on the export and transit of arms from EU Member States is subject to national legislation, the EU Common Position 2008/944/CFSP and to the Arms Trade Treaty.
These instruments are legally binding on all Member States and implemented under their responsibility. The decision whether to authorise or deny an individual export or transit of military equipment is to be adopted, in accordance with that legal framework, by the competent authorities of the Member States. Information on arms exports from EU Member States is publicly available.
Operation Irini is a concrete demonstration of EU support to the United Nations (UN)-led Berlin Process for Libya. Operation Irini has shown its ability to document and monitor arms embargo violations from both sides of the conflict in Libya, and has reported to the UN Panel of Experts accordingly.
On several occasions, the operation has also conducted inspections on vessels suspected of violating the arms embargo. The operation also acts as a deterrent actor against oil smuggling from Libya.
The September 2020 Foreign Affairs Council adopted new listings under the Libya sanctions regime, including against three entities — private operators — involved in violating the UN arms embargo.
One of the entities operates from Turkey. In October 2020, an additional individual was listed under the same regime. These listings are a clear signal of EU’s strong determination to ensure that the UN arms embargo on Libya is fully respected.
Turkey has committed itself, as a Berlin Process member, to respect and implement the UN embargoes and to refrain from actions or initiatives fuelling the conflict in Libya. The High Representative continues to reach out to the key players involved in the Libyan conflict, including Turkey, to promote a constructive engagement in the spirit of the Berlin Process.”
Photo Credit : https://pixabay.com/illustrations/libya-chess-cinema-4d-home-2093520/