Britain sending warship to Libya in fight against smuggling of people, arms

The U.K. plans to deploy a navy warship to the Mediterranean to counter arms smuggling in Libya and a team to assist in training the country’s coast guard, Prime Minister David Cameron said Friday, in the latest sign of a step toward military involvement in the country.

Mr. Cameron said leaders of the Group of Seven nations have discussed at a summit in Japan how to tackle migration in the central Mediterranean and boost the capability of the Libyan coast guard.

Once a plan has been agreed upon with Libyan authorities the U.K. will send a training team to assist its implementation, he said at a news conference at the summit.

“And once the relevant permissions and U.N. Security Council resolution are in place, I will deploy a naval warship to the south-central Mediterranean to combat arms trafficking in the region,” he said. “Together these developments will help stabilize Libya, secure its coast and tackle the migration crisis.”

The U.K. Ministry of Defense said it didn't have further details on the announcement.

The U.K. has deployed several ships to help tackle the migration crisis. Royal Navy survey ship HMS Enterprise is in the Mediterranean helping with surveillance to try to build a better picture of people trafficking in the region.

The U.K. along with France carried out airstrikes in Libya in 2011 that led to the downfall of dictator Muammar Qaddafi, which was followed by years of civil unrest in the country and a rise in extremism including elements of Islamic State.

Click for more from The Wall Street Journal.