Italy-Libya MoU to curb illegal immigration flow renewed

An inflatable boat from the Spanish vessel Astral operated by the NGO Proactiva collects migrants off the Libyan coast in the Mediterranean Sea August 18, 2016. [Photo: REUTERS]
A deal to restrict the arrival of migrants and refugees into Italy from Libya was renewed automatically on Saturday.

The MoU, signed in February 2017 by Italy and the UN-recognised Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) led by Fayez Al-Sarraj, set out a framework for the two countries to work together in “development cooperation, countering illegal migration, human trafficking and smuggling and reinforcing security at the Libya-Italy border”.

Despite calls from human rights groups to revoke it, the newly installed Italian government signalled it has no intention of changing course in the way it deals with its Libyan partners.

The deal committed Italy to providing training and resources to the Libyan coastguard as well as finance migrant centres, alongside the European Union, where an estimated 4,500 people are currently in detention.

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