France plans to open centers in Libya to stem flow of migrants


France says it plans to set up hotspots in Libya, to act as centers for processing asylum seekers.

The move is in a bid to stem the flow of migrants to Europe.

President Emmanuel Macron says the migrants are destabilizing Libya and Europe by fuelling people-smuggling, which in turn funds terrorism.

The centers are expected to be open soon.

Nearly a million people are currently in camps in Libya, hoping to get into Europe. Many of them however lack the right to asylum status.

Earlier this week, Libya’s Tripoli-based government invited Italy to send war ships into its waters to help curb human trafficking into Europe.

If the Italian parliament approves the request, the European nation will send its mission to the Libyan waters by the end of August.

Tripoli had refused access to its waters to the European Union’s anti-trafficking sea mission Sophia since 2015, hobbling efforts to stop smugglers.

The new stance came just a day after the two rival factions in the North African country reached an agreement to end the fighting and hold elections as soon as possible.

Around 600,000 migrants have reached Italy by sea from North Africa since 2014. Most came through Libya, where people smugglers operate with impunity amid the turmoil that has gripped the country since Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown in 2011.