Italian Prime Minister, Paolo Gentiloni said Wednesday that Libya’s UN-backed Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj has asked his country to help combat illegal immigration across the Mediterranean.
“Sarraj sent a letter requesting the Italian government provide the technical support of Italian naval units in the joint struggle in Libyan territorial waters against human traffickers,” Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said.
Gentiloni explained that the defence ministry is considering the possibility of supporting the Libyan Coast Guard, after approval by the Italian parliament.
“This is a very important development in the fight against human trafficking” he said, adding that this approach will allow the Italian naval units to intervene in Libyan territorial waters and will significantly reduce the flow of migrants from the Libyan coast.
According to the latest figures from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), some 111,514 immigrants and refugees have arrived in Europe across the Mediterranean since the beginning of this year, including more than 93,000 people who had arrived in Italy; more than 2,360 people died during the journey.