UK drones may combat Mediterranean migrant trade

The British government is expected to provide drones and surveillance equipment to combat human trafficking in the Mediterranean, reports say.

The British foreign secretary, Philip Hammond, and the defence secretary, Michael Fallon, are expected to tell their EU counterparts at a meeting in Brussels on Monday that Britain is prepared to take the lead in operations in the Mediterranean, the Guardian reported.

Defence sources said a Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship, Lyme Bay, which can carry 200 marines and three Merlin helicopters, and a new class of armored offshore assault boats, could provide a significant element to a planned EU naval force in the Mediterranean.

However, the sources said such a force would need a UN Security Council resolution and that the government would need much more information about the proposed EU force and its rules of engagement before deploying ships and commandos.

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