By Ria Novosti
The European Council on Friday approved the decision to mount an EU military operation to support humanitarian efforts in Libya, if asked to do so by the United Nations.
“The EU will, if requested by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), conduct a military operation in…order to support humanitarian assistance in the region,” the council statement read.
“The aim of the operation would be to contribute to the safe movement and evacuation of displaced persons and to support the humanitarian agencies in their activities with specific capabilities,” it said.
EUFOR Libya can only be deployed if the council adopts another decision approving the force’s terms of engagement, the statement added.
The Libyan political crisis, which evolved into military clashes between opponents and supporters of the country’s longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi, began in mid-February. The conflict has already left thousands of people dead and forced many more to flee the country.
UN Security Council Resolution 1973, adopted on March 17, imposed a no-fly zone over Libya and authorized measures to protect civilians from Gaddafi forces, but stopped short of authorizing ground operations in the North African country.