By Jamie Prentis.
Tunis, 9 December 2017:
Libya and Italy have agreed to set up a joint operations centre to identify and target migrant traffickers. The agreement came this morning during talks between Presidency Council (PC) head Faiez Serraj and Italian interior minister Marco Minniti.
The centre will consist of “representatives from the coastguard, the illegal migration department, the Libyan attorney general and the intelligence services, along with their Italian counterparts,” a statement by the PC said.
Attending the meeting was the head of the coastguard, Brigadier Abdullah Toumieh as well as Italian ambassador Giuseppe Perrone.
Minniti praised Libyan efforts to eradicate human trafficking and said Italy would continue to stand by Libya’s side in ridding the country of it. It was important, though, that those being set back to their home countries went voluntarily, he added.
For his part Serraj president stressed the importance of pursuing trafficker networks in Africa and Europe, not just in Libya.
Accompanied by his interior minister, Aref Khojja, Serraj also voiced his concern at the high number of migrants housed outside official detention centres. He had previously put their figure at some 500,000.
He also asked for greater help in securing Libya’s southern borders.
Following the meeting, Serraj along with his political adviser Taher Sonni, Khojja, intelligence service head Abdelkader Al-Tohamy and deputy justice minister Khaled Abu Salah met to hear the latest in the investigation into allegations of slave trading in Libya.