By Sami Zaptia.
London, 27 June 2018:
Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister, Matteo Salvini, said that Italy and Libya have common interests, the most important of which is to protect the external borders of both countries.
Speaking at a press conference in Rome after returning from his inaugural visit to Libya, Salvini said that these protection and identification centres should not be set up within Libya, but on its external borders, in neighbouring countries such as Niger, Chad, Mali and the Sudan. He also announced that a technical meeting on this issue will be held next week.
It will be recalled that Libya’s Presidential Council of the Government of National Accord had categorically rejected the establishment of any illegal migration camps on Libyan soil, asserting that Libya was a country of transit and is not a source of migratory flows, appealing to the States of the European Union to adopt common policies among themselves on addressing the issue of migration.
Meanwhile, Italian Minister of Infrastructure and Transport, Danilo Toninelli, said that his country would grant Libya patrol boats so that the Libyan Coast Guard could better cover its coastline and carry out better search and rescue operations of migrants on board immigration boats.
Toninelli said that the Italian Government is to provide the Libyan authorities with new modes of transport to boost the operations of boats loaded with immigrants from the Libyan coast.
He also revealed that he had spoken on Tuesday morning by phone with his Libyan counterpart Meelad Matug, and expressed his readiness to extend the Libyan Coast Guard with new Italian patrol boats in order to improve their maritime patrolling and make them more effective in coping with the launch of, what Toninelli called ‘‘death boats’’. This will include training by the Italians for the Libyan Coat Guard on the use of these new patrol boats.