By Alessandra Bocchi.
Tunis, 14 February 2017:
Italy should deport newly-arrived migrants to their home countries within a week and help Libya to do the same, a senior Libya naval officer has said.
“If Italy supports Libya in repatriating migrants directly after their arrest – perhaps immigration will drop” navy spokesman Ayoub Omar Qassem told the Italian news agency ANSAMED. Potential migrants would realise that it was impossible to reach Europe, he said, and the numbers would therefore drop.
“Italy and Libya must repatriate migrants without delay within no more than a week of their arrest” said Qassem, “With this measure it is effectively possible to achieve something.”
Qassem’s proposal comes in the wake of a storm of protest from Libyan politicians, international representatives and local NGOs at the recent Italy-Libya migrant deal which would send back to Libya migrants who made it to Italy.