Italy reopens its embassy in Tripoli to exert more control on illegal migration

In a new agreement to boost collaborations with Libya against migrant smuggling, terrorism, and human trafficking, Italy has reopened its embassy in Libya’s capital Tripoli on Monday, Italy’s Interior Ministry disclosed.

“The new Italian Mission that operates from Tripoli will be the principal coordination center in tackling all forms of smuggling and protecting Libya’s southern borders.” Italian Interior Minister Marco Minniti said during his meeting with Prime Minister of the UN backed Libyan government Fayez Seraj on Monday.  “The two countries had entered a new chapter in terms of cracking down on criminal elements that exploit Illegal migration.”

In a telephone interview he conducted with Libyan Herald, the new Italian ambassador to Libya, Giuseppe Perrone, indicated that fighting illegal migration, terrorism and human smuggling are the common issues Italy and Libya share, as these issues are undermining the stability of both societies.

“Libyan and Italian authorities are committed to combatting illegal migration by uniting forces and making sure that Libyan forces do have the capacity to carry out the complex phenomenon,” he added.

Italy’s foreign minister Angelino Alfano also wrote on social media saying that the reopening of the diplomatic mission to Libya will put more controls on illegal migrant’s departures from that country.

 

Mattia Toaldo, senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, told Business Insider, “The link between Libya and migration has been there, at least for Italy, since the early 2000s. The surge of migrations in 2013 put a new spotlight on the issue as the numbers grew from an average of 30-40,000 per year to 150-180,000 per year.”

Around 207 of the 227 migrant deaths worldwide in 2017 have happened to people trying to reach Italy from Libya in the first two weeks of the new year – more than double the number of deaths for the same period in 2016. According to UNHCR 14 people died every single day in 2016, but the averages show that at least 16 people have died every day so far in 2017.

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