Italy has proposed a migrant deal with Libya, aiming to fight human trafficking. Italian Interior Minister Marco Minniti proposed the pact during his visit to Tripoli while meeting 13 mayors of the Southern Libyan cities, which became the first stop for many illegal immigrants’ journey to Europe. Mr. Minniti said that the deal, which has already been supported by EU interior ministers, would help “liberate our lands from traffickers” while stressing that “we have a moral duty to eliminate this traffic that has caused deaths… and extraordinary and unacceptable pressure on my country”.
The North African country is struggling to control its borders with Chad, Niger and Sudan but Fayez al-Sarraj, leader of the internationally backed Government of National Unity, reaffirmed his European counterparts that “Libya will do its best to relieve the pressure on the Italian coast”. Italy is the only Western country that has reopened its diplomatic mission in the Libyan capital. Mr. Minniti visited Tripoli earlier this year to hand over four patrol vessels repaired in Italy to back Libya’s struggle to tackle illegal immigration.
Libya’s dilapidating state has created a perfect environment for traffickers whose numbers have increased since the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Italy has been urging Brussels and other EU member states to help deal with the migrant crisis and make a “concrete contribution”. Rome would like to see either some tangible steps in its efforts to curb departures from Libya or a redistribution of some of those who arrive on its shores. Italian Prime Minister Paolo said last week that his country did not have sufficient capacity to keep on taking new people as it has already accepted around 85,000 of 100,000 people who have arrived since January.