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EU Set to Approve Mission to Destroy Human Smuggling in Mediterranean

© REUTERS / MOAS/Jason Florio/Handout via ReutersMigrants crowd the deck of their wooden boat off the coast of Libya May 14, 2015
Migrants crowd the deck of their wooden boat off the coast of Libya May 14, 2015 - Sputnik International
EU foreign and defense ministers will meet in Brussels Monday to approve a plan to counter human smuggling in the Mediterranean, as part of actions addressing the migrant crisis.

Migrants crowd and inflatable dinghy as rescue vassel  Denaro  (not in picture) of the Italian Coast Guard approaches them, off the Libyan coast, in the Mediterranean Sea - Sputnik International
Mogherini Rules Out Military Action in Libya to Tackle Migrant Smuggling
MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Outraged public response to a string of fatal migrant boat accidents in the Mediterranean prompted the European Union to take immediate administrative action.

The proposed plan involves military operations to be conducted in Libyan territorial waters to destroy smuggler boats, in an attempt to curb the flow of undocumented migrants to Europe via the Mediterranean, decreasing the number of deaths at sea.

On May 11, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini called on the United Nations to approve an EU-drafted set of measures including military action, to dismantle criminal groups smuggling refugees in the Mediterranean and in Libyan territorial waters.

Migrants wait to disembark from a tug boat in the Sicilian harbour of Trapani, April 17, 2015 - Sputnik International
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According to Libya's envoy to the United Nations Ibrahim Dabbashi, Tripoli disapproves of the EU plan to launch a military operation to destroy human trafficking networks in the country's territorial waters.

"Today the main point will be taking the decision to establish the operation, the EU operation at sea to dismantle the criminal networks that are smuggling people in the Mediterranean," the BBC quoted EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini as saying Monday.

Europe is currently experiencing a rapid increase in undocumented migration via maritime channels. Correspondingly, the number of migrant deaths in the Mediterranean Sea has increased dramatically.

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According to International Organization for Migration estimates, at least 1,727 migrants have died at sea since the beginning of 2015. People smuggling often results in casualties among the migrants, including many shipwrecks.

The most recent high-profile tragedy occurred in April, when a boat carrying some 900 migrants capsized in the Mediterranean Sea while heading from Libya to Italy, resulting in the deaths of almost everybody aboard, with only 28 rescued.

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