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Russia against EU plan to destroy people-smugglers’ boats — UN envoy

April 30, 2015, 8:42 UTC+3 UNITED NATIONS
Russia’s UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin discussed the migrant boat crisis with EU’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini
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UNITED NATIONS, April 30. /TASS/. Russia does not support European Union’s plans to seek a military mandate to destroy people-smugglers’ boats in the Mediterranean, but is ready to work on the problem at the UN Security Council, Russia’s UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told TASS on Wednesday.

Churkin said he had discussed the migrant boat crisis with EU’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini. "She said they were in touch both with the African Union and with Arab countries, what we had urged for in essence," he said.

"She also said she was expecting some contribution to the settlement of the problem from the Security Council. We are ready to work but of course we don’t support such extreme moves as destruction of ships," the ambassador said, noting that Russia saw these moves as "excessive".

He also said he had drawn Mogherini’s attention to major issues of legal nature, explaining that it was unclear what to do with the migrants on boats supposed to be destroyed.

"Imagine if 1,000 people are taken off a ship in the Libyan territorial waters. What is to be done with them, where should they be taken? Left on the shore?" the diplomat asked.

He also drew attention to one more problem, "It is one thing when for example pirates attack you - it is clear then that they are all criminals, and here it must be proved that the crew was engaged in criminal activity," he explained.

He said seamen could say they were unaware that their passengers were illegal migrants.

On Tuesday, Federica Mogherini told reporters at the UN headquarters, that she had launched consultations with Security Council countries on a future resolution on fight against traffickers. She said prior to launching an operation, the European Union wanted to secure an approval of the Security Council.

Meanwhile, Deputy Spokesman to the UN Secretary General Farhan Haq on Wednesday quoted Ban Ki-moon as saying that he did not believe military operations could help save people.

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