Libya’s United Nations-backed prime minister, Fayez al-Sarraj, has appealed to Italy to send ships into Libyan territorial waters to combat human trafficking.
Sarraj sent a letter requesting that “the Italian government provide the technical support of Italian naval units in the joint struggle in Libyan waters against human traffickers.”
Then-Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said the Ministry of Defense was considering the request, and “the options will be discussed with the Libyan authorities and the Italian Parliament.”
Should Italy respond positively, “as I believe is necessary, it could be a very important development in the fight against people trafficking,” he said.
The move would reduce the number of migrant boat departures from the coast of crisis-hit Libya and ease the strain on Italy, which has struggled to house thousands of people rescued at sea.
Sarraj said, “We need to do more so that our Coast Guard can fight illegal immigration and ensure that we have advanced technologies to control our coasts.”