Italy panics as North Africa migrants surge

Italy will host a meeting between European and North African countries next week in a bid to strengthen support for an agreement it struck with Libya to fight people smuggling as migrant arrivals surge.

The prime minister of the UN-backed government in Tripoli, Fayez Al-Seraj, will meet with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni and interior ministers from eight European countries including Germany and France on Monday.

Last month, Italy pledged money, training and equipment to help Libya fight people smugglers, a deal that was endorsed by European Union member states.

But Libya is still far from stable. Two governments are vying for power – in Tobruk to the east and Tripoli to the west – and the country remains mired in factional fighting and lawlessness.

The authorities in eastern Libya have rejected the deal struck between Rome and Tripoli.

“I’m not so naive as to not understand the situation there,” Italian Interior Minister Marco Minniti told reporters. “But we cannot remain immobile and wait for the country to stabilise.”

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middleeastmonitor
Also published on Fenixx.org

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