It is a privilege for me to be here, in Sicily, and having had the opportunity to visit the headquarters of Operation Irini yesterday [on 18 March] in Rome and met the women and men who carry out the work of this Operation. It is a very important Operation for the European Union. All Member States contribute to this Operation – well, some more than others – providing personnel, assets – important aerial assets as we have seen today. This mission is working on the sea, on the air and watching also what is happening on land.
As you can imagine, for me it is an important opportunity to visit this mission and, later today, I will be on the sea, on a boat of the German navy.
I think that the visit comes at a very important moment. It is one year of Operation Irini and the situation in Libya is much better than one year ago. (..)
The international community’s decision of controlling the arms embargo has helped to the stability in Libya. Today we see prospects for real peace. And frankly speaking, I could not have imagine that six months ago. I think that we have to praise the Libyans, because this has been done by the Libyans, with strong support of the United Nations and the European Union. I know that they way is still long, it will continue requiring efforts. But there is a window of opportunity and it has to be taken, for the Libyans first, but also for everybody who is engaged in trying to make peace in Libya.
I want to praise the importance of Operation Irini and thank Italy for the strong support that it has been giving to this mission.
Operation Irini: Speech by High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell at the Sigonella Naval Air Station Airport
Operation Irini: Remarks by High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell at the press point