Gentiloni govt approves Libya support mission

'Step forward' in stabilization, no big fleets says premier

28 July, 20:33

    (By Paul Virgo)

    ROME - Premier Paolo Gentiloni's government on Friday approved a resolution for an Italian naval mission of support to the Libyan coast guard. Gentiloni said the Italian mission should be considered "a step forward in Italy's contribution to the Libyan authorities' capacity to take the initiative against traffickers and reinforce their capacity to control their borders and national territory". He added after the cabinet meeting that: "it is a piece of the path of stabilization of Libya and Italy feels it a duty to participate".

    The cabinet "approved what the (Libyan) government requested, no more, no less," he said.

    Gentiloni announced Wednesday that Italy was considering a request from Libya for the help in combatting human traffickers after meeting Libyan Premier Fayez al-Sarraj in Rome. Most of the over 93,000 migrants to have landed in Italy so far this year started their journey across the Mediterranean from Libya, which has been affected by chaos since a Paris-led campaign contributed to the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. It is hoped that the mission with the Libyan coast guard can help stem this flow, which is causing massive strain on the Italian authorities. Gentiloni stressed Friday that the use of Italian vessels to support Libya would not entail "an enormous deployment of big feels and air squadrons".

    "It can give a significant initiative to support Libya sovereignty, it is not an initiative against Libyan sovereignty," he said. Gentiloni said that he hopes support in parliament for the mission goes beyond the ruling coalition. "I hope that parliament can give approval with the broadest possible consensus," he said, adding that the details will be presented in parliament on Tuesday.

    NGOs have warned that the initiative could mean asylum seekers face atrocities including torture and rape when they are taken back to Libya.

    Italy wants to international organizations such as the UNHCR and the IOM to work in Libya to make sure migrants are treated humanely.

    © Copyright ANSA - All rights reserved

    Business opportunities

    The information system of business
    opportunities abroad

    News from Mediterranean