Libya and Italy partner to combat migrant smuggling
Photo credit: ABS-CBN News. African migrants walk in line at a naval base in Tripoli after being rescued by the Libyan coast guard in the Mediterranean Sea off the Libyan coast.
TMP – 09/01/2018
Libya and Italy will establish a joint operations room to intercept migrants and traffickers, in a bid to curb irregular migration to Europe. ,
The new partnership was announced on 9 December, after a meeting in Tripoli between the head of the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), Fayez Seraj, Libyan Interior Minister Aref Khodja and his Italian counterpart Marco Minniti.
The centre will consist of representatives of the coast guard, the department of illegal migration, the office of the attorney general and the intelligence services of the two countries, Reuters has reported.
No information has yet been released as to where the centre would be located and how exactly it would be operated.
“Despite the successes achieved in the migration file, the number of illegal immigrants outside shelters remains large and we need more cooperation, especially in securing the borders of southern Libya through which these migrants flow,” Seraj said.
Libya is the main transit hub for migrants attempting to reach Europe by sea, though numbers have dropped sharply since July as Libyan factions and authorities have begun to block departures under Italian pressure.
Italy, together with the European Union, has been increasing its efforts to stem the flow of migrants across the Mediterranean by maintaining a presence at the Port of Tripoli, and providing technical, logistical and financial assistance to the Libyan coast guard.