'Migrant route to Italy from Libya can be closed' – Tusk

Serraj urges more concrete EU measures for stabilization

02 February, 12:39

    Libyan Premier Fayez al Serraj and European Council President Donald Tusk meet in Brussels Libyan Premier Fayez al Serraj and European Council President Donald Tusk meet in Brussels

    BRUSSELS - It is time to close the migrant route from Libya to Italy, European Council President Donald Tusk said after talks with Libyan Premier Fayez al Serraj in Brussels on Thursday.

    "The EU has shown it is able to close the routes of irregular migration, as it has done in the eastern Mediterranean," Tusk said. "I spoke at length with Italian Premier Paolo Gentiloni (on Wednesday) and I can assure you we can succeed. What is needed is the full determination to do so. We owe it first of all to those who suffer and risk their lives, but we also owe it to the Italians and to all Europeans," he continued.

    The EU and Libya have a "shared interest in reducing the number of irregular migrants who risk their lives in the central Mediterranean", Tusk said.

    This flow is "unsustainable for the EU and for Libya", where "the traffickers undermine the authority of the Libyan state for their own profit", he added. The informal summit in Valletta on Friday will examine "additional measures" for "more effectively combating the trafficking network and better managing the migration flows," the European Council president said. The EU "fully supports Libyan efforts to reach a political agreement and United Nations efforts to ease tensions". Tusk reiterated the EU's full support for Libya's government of national accord (GNA) led by Fayez al Serraj, but said "further constructive results" are needed to involve "those in Libya who have not joined the new institutions". Meanwhile, Serraj called on the EU for more concrete efforts in support of stabilisation in Libya. The country is "involved in the fight against terrorism" and "will continue to be so" despite the high cost in terms of "dead, injured and invalids", he said.

    "We hope the EU's mechanisms for helping Libya will be more concrete: let's not talk about the amount of money allocated to this assistance, because it is only very small. We need to be serious enough to reach the goal of stabilising the situation together," Serraj said.

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