Italy opens Libya embassy to stop migrants

Italy announced on Monday (9 January) it would re-open its embassy in Libya’s capital as part of a broader effort to curb migration departures.

“The Italian ambassador is returning to Tripoli after two years. A great gesture of friendship to the Libyan people. Now more controls on migrant departures,” Italy’s foreign minister Angelino Alfano wrote on Twitter.

The diplomatic envoy, set to start on Tuesday, is the first for any Western nation after governments pulled out when Libya was left to the mercy of warring militant groups. The turmoil has also allowed the Islamic State jihadist group to gain a foothold.

The general lawlessness helped turn the country into the main staging ground for people seeking to reach the EU from the north African coast.

Frontex, the EU border agency, says the number of people detected crossing the Mediterranean Sea last year reached 181,000, “the highest number ever recorded” along the route.

The vast majority come from Nigeria, followed by nationals from Eritrea, Guinea, Ivory Coast, and Gambia, who disembark on packed and often unseaworthy boats towards Italy…
Read more : EUObserver, 10.01.2017