Senior officials at the European Union’s Operation IRINI were denied visa entry to Libya by the Libyan government, IRINI commander revealed on Saturday.
Rear Admiral Fabio Agostini told Italian newspaper Avvenire that he has been trying for months to go to Tripoli but was denied visa by the Libyan government for unknown reasons.
“I’ve been trying to go to Libya since before Easter, but the Libyan authorities have not yet granted me a visa, for whatever reason,” he said.
Agostini said that the Italian government was made aware of the Libyan government’s refusal to grant entry permits to the commanders of Operation IRINI.
The Italian-born admiral indicated that the relationship between the European operation and the Libyan authorities have become strained in the last year and half due to the heavy involvement of other foreign powers such as Turkey and Russia.
“For a year and a half, Operation IRINI no longer provided training for the Libyan Coast Guard and the Libyan Navy because the operation immediately had great political difficulties both internationally and with Libya itself, as the rug was pulled by the main players such as Russia and Turkey,” he said.