Belgium must withdraw frigates off Libya: Minister

‘Belgium should withdraw its frigate from an EU mission to break up human trafficking networks near Libya because the presence of such vessels encouraged migrants to make the perilous journey across the central Mediterranean, the migration minister said.

Belgium has sent a frigate to take part in an EU operation to map and disrupt networks of people smugglers off the Libyan coast who send migrants towards Italy, often on ramshackle dinghies which are barely seaworthy.

While saving the migrants is not the core task of the military vessels that are part of the mission, they often have to do so.

“I personally think this operation should not be repeated because it is pure lunacy. There is no logic to it,” migration minister Theo Francken told broadcaster VTM.’

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