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EU States to Deploy Ships Off Libya in Sign of Military Muscle

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  • Naval mission to help enforce a UN-mandated arms embargo
  • Decision is attempt to rein in proxy conflict in EU’s backyard
The frigate Augsburg (l) returns from Operation Sophia. 

The frigate Augsburg (l) returns from Operation Sophia. 

Photographer: Mohssen Assanimoghaddam/picture alliance via Getty Images

The European Union agreed to deploy warships to enforce an arms embargo on Libya in a move that underscores the increasing importance the bloc places on geopolitics as it seeks to defuse the conflict ravaging a major African oil producer.

EU foreign ministers agreed on Monday to launch aerial, satellite and maritime assets in the Mediterranean Sea tasked with preventing the shipment of arms to Libya’s warring factions. The breakthrough came after weeks of fraught negotiations sparked by fears that immigrants seeking to cross to the EU would get intentionally shipwrecked, forcing warships to save them and bring them to European ports.