UN rebuffs EU proposal for humanitarian mission to Libya

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton, Jan. 31, 2011.

From DPA:  The United Nations has rebuffed a European Union offer to deploy a military mission to assist humanitarian aid efforts in Libya, European officials in Luxembourg said Tuesday.

Speaking at a meeting of EU foreign ministers, the bloc’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, said the UN believed there was no need for such a mission just yet.

The EU has begun planning a mission involving air and naval logistical support – EUFOR Libya – but is waiting for the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) to authorize its deployment.

"If the United Nations asks us to help them with our military support, to get aid into the country, we are ready to do so," Ashton said. "So far, they said there is not a need."

Austrian Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger said UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had told him that OCHA would call on the EU only "when it’s absolutely necessary, as a last resort."  (photo: AP)

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