London, March 8 (IANS) Britain will deploy military naval ships to join a NATO mission in the Aegean Sea to reduce the flow of migrants from Turkey to Europe, the media reported on tuesday.
The Royal Navy will send amphibious landing ship royal fleet auxiliary (RFA) Mounts Bay alongside two border force cutters to join the NATO mission, Xinhua quoted British Prime Minister David Cameron as saying on Monday.
RFA Mounts Bay, supported by a Wildcat helicopter, is expected to start operations in the coming days to identify smugglers taking migrants to Greece and passing the information to the Turkish coastguard so they can intercept these boats.
They will be supported by three border force boats, including standby safety vessel VOS Grace which is already in the Aegean and two cutters.
“We’ve got to break the business model of the criminal smugglers and stop the desperate flow of people crammed into makeshift vessels from embarking on a fruitless and perilous journey,” Cameron said.
“That’s why this NATO mission is so important. It’s an opportunity to stop the smugglers and send out a clear message to migrants contemplating journeys to the Europe that they will be turned back,” he added.
At an EU summit in Brussels on Monday, Cameron urged its European partners to break the link between migrants’ getting on a boat and getting resettlement in Europe by “smashing the trafficking gangs and increasing the return of illegal migrants.”
He also called on the international community to act together and stem the flow of migrants making the “perilous journey” from Turkey to Greece, according to the british government.