Libya rejects EU plans for migrant centers on its territory

African migrants, who according to the Libyan navy were rescued by the country's coast guard, sit on a pier after arriving at the naval base in Tripoli on July 12. (AFP)
Updated 20 July 2018
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Libya rejects EU plans for migrant centers on its territory

  • Italy last month proposed reception and identification centers for migrant processing in Africa
  • The UN Migration Agency said 51,782 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea through 18 July

BERLIN: Libya rejects a European Union’s plan to establish migrant centers there to stop asylum seekers arriving in western Europe and it will not be swayed by financial inducements, Prime Minister Fayez Al-Sarraj said.
Italy last month proposed reception and identification centers for migrant processing in Africa as a means of resolve divisions among European governments over how to handle an influx of more than 1 million migrants since 2015.
Libya is a main departure point for migrants trying to reach Europe often on flimsy inflatable boats provided by smugglers that often spring leaks or break down.
“We are absolutely opposed to Europe officially wanting us to accommodate illegal immigrants the EU does not want to take in,” Sarraj told German mass-selling daily Bild in an interview published on Friday.
He dismissed accusations that Libya’s coast guard has shot at aid workers trying to rescue migrants.
“We save hundreds of people off the coast of Libya every day — our ships are constantly on the move,” he said, adding that Libya was being left to rescue migrants from the Mediterranean alone and needed more technical and financial support.
The UN Migration Agency said 51,782 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea through 18 July. That total compares to 110,189 at this time last year and 244,722 at this time in 2016. The death toll to date this year is 1,490 it said.


At least 30 migrants believed missing after boat sinking off Libya

Updated 21 min 13 sec ago
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At least 30 migrants believed missing after boat sinking off Libya

TRIPOLI: At least 30 migrants are believed to be missing after their boat sank off the western Libyan city of Sabratha this week, a coastguard spokesman said on Thursday.
According to a survivor the boat was carrying almost 50 migrants, coastguard spokesman Ayoub Qassem said. The body of one child was recovered and 16 migrants were rescued, he added.
Previously, officials had said at least 10 migrants were thought to have died in the incident.
Libya's western coast is a main departure point for migrants trying to reach Europe, though numbers have dropped since an Italian-led effort to disrupt smuggling networks and support Libya's coast guard.