EU prepares ground troops for Libya

19 April 2011

European Union awaiting UN approval for deployment

The European Union is awaiting UN approval for the deployment of as many as 1,000 ground troops to secure the delivery of aid to Libya.

The EU has drawn up plans to “secure sea and land corridors inside the country” and says troops would not be engaged in combat although they would be authorized to fight if threatened, according to EU officials, the UK’s Guardian newspaper reports.

Preparations for the deployment began in early April after a decision by the 27-country body and a 61-page document outlining the “concept of operations” and various scenarios was drawn up by Catherine Ashton, the EU’s foreign and security policy chief.

Diplomats and officials said this would not be finalised unless a request for an EU military mission came from the UN body, the Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Ocha).

Valerie Amos, the UN body’s head said on 18 April, the Libyan government has promised the UN access to the opposition held city of Misrata, although they had not guaranteed a ceasefire during such a mission. The city of 300,000 has been under siege by government forces since the middle of March.

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