23 APR 2011
By Mary Fitzgerald | Irish Times
THE LIBYAN opposition’s transitional national council (TNC) opposes plans to deploy an EU force to Libya to ensure the delivery of aid supplies, a representative for the council said during a visit to Ireland yesterday.
The EU took the decision to prepare the mission, which needs UN approval, earlier this month. An operational headquarters for the proposed force, which has been named Eufor Libya, has already been established in Rome under the command of an Italian rear-admiral.
Officials are drawing up operational instructions concerning the size of the force, its equipment and make-up, and the rules of engagement. The mission would be deployed only following a request from the UN’s Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Ocha). The Department of Defence is considering a request for Ireland to deploy two Army personnel to the mission headquarters in Rome.
Guma el-Gamaty, the UK co-ordinator for the TNC, told Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore during a meeting yesterday that the council opposed plans for a ground force, even if it had a humanitarian mandate.
“We are still of the position that sending ground troops to Libya could be counterproductive and could hand Gadafy a very strong card to play with,” Mr el-Gamaty said after the meeting.
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