Feb. 17 (UPI) -- The European Union on Monday agreed to deploy warships to enforce the internationally-backed arms embargo against Libya.
Josep Borrell, the EU's minister of foreign affairs, said the 27 foreign ministers that comprise the bloc agreed to launch a new operation with naval ships, planes and satellites to stop the flow of weapons into Libya.
Ships under the new mission -- which will be known as Operation EU Active Surveillance -- will patrol about 60 miles off the coast of Libya.
Borrell also said the foreign ministers agreed ships would be deployed only in places on the Libyan coast along routes where arms shipments have traveled adding a ground deployment can't prevent all weapons shipments as "an important part of the traffic of arms goes by sea."
The EU sea patrols were suspended in March after the Italian government withdrew its support to stop migrants from being brought into the country and the top United Nations official on Libya, Stephanie Williams, said over the weekend that the embargo had become "a joke."
Borrell said that ships would be withdrawn if they became "a pull factor" that encouraged people to attempt to cross from Libya to Europe to prevent the operation from becoming a rescue mission.
"Naval assets can be deployed in the areas most relevant to the implementation of the arms embargo, in the eastern part of the area of operation or at least 60 miles off the Libyan coast, where chances to conduct rescue operations are lower," an internal EU memo said.
The announcement comes as talks to end the Libya conflict are set to resume on Tuesday and the EU has also considered deploying a cease-fire monitoring mission if the fighting stops.