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Operation Sophia has reduced the number of migrants arriving in Europe via Libya

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In a meeting with Rear Admiral Enrico Credendino, commander of EUNAVFOR Med, also known as Operation Sophia, Estonian Foreign Minister Sven Mikser was given an overview of the course and results of the EU naval operation launched in the central Mediterranean in June 2015.

Operation Sophia aims to ease the migration crisis and curtail the activities of human smugglers. Compared to the same period the year before, the numbers of new migrants flowing into Italy from Libya have decreased by close to 4,000.

“We value the role of Rear Adm. Credendino and the entire Operation Sophia team in easing the migration crisis,” said Mikser. “The results of the operation are a good example of cooperation between countries aimed at slowing illegal immigration and human smuggling in the Mediterranean.

“One of the priorities of the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the EU is to bring the migration crisis under control, and we can only reach that solution by acting in concert and maintaining unity on foreign policy,“ added Mikser.

To date, Operation Sophia has rescued close to 40,000 refugees, confiscated and made safe 372 vessels, and detained and handed over to Italian authorities 101 human smuggling suspects. Estonia is represented in the operation by one staff officer and one Defence Forces medic.

Since 20 June 2016, Sophia is also helping improve the capability of the Libyan coast guard and navy in order to strengthen control over the country’s sea border, and supports the implementation of the UN arms embargo near the Libyan coast.

Photographs from the meeting: https://flic.kr/s/aHsm3ufoYr

Additional information:

Armo Vask
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Communication Department
Email armo.vask@mfa.ee
Tel +372 637 7618
Mob +372 5666 8581