Italy and Libya have agreed to take even stronger measures against boat migrants in the Mediterranean in the future. The announcement was made by Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni during a visit to Tripoli today. “The number of illegal migrants is still very high,” the far-right politician said after a meeting with Libyan Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbaiba. “We believe more can and should be done here.”
Italy therefore wants to provide the Libyan coast guard with five new speedboats with EU funds. Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani has signed a corresponding declaration of intent, as he announced on Twitter. Meloni stressed that these boats must be used to help refugees in distress.
Reviews from aid organizations
However, international aid organizations accuse the Libyans of not helping the refugees with their coastguard, but of intercepting them and bringing them back to the North African country against their will. Refugees regularly report abuse; Human rights organizations classify the country in civil war as not being a safe place for refugees.
Most people traveling to northern North Africa in boats, some of which are unseaworthy, depart from the coast of Libya. Many make it to southern Italy this way – some are discovered by volunteer marine rescuers and brought aboard.
One of these ships, the “Geo Barents” of Doctors Without Borders, arrived today at the port of La Spezia, in northern Italy, with 237 rescued people. The town in the Liguria region, more than 1,000 kilometers from the Libyan rescue zone, was assigned to the crew as a point of contact. People landed there on Saturday. The ship “Ocean Viking” from the association SOS Mediterranee was sent to Carrara, south of La Spezia, with 95 refugees.
The helpers are sharply critical of the fact that they are currently not being assigned to any closer port, for example in Sicily, and see this government action as harassment. The German rescue ship “Sea-Eye 4” was on its way from Spain to the central Mediterranean for a new mission over the weekend.