Libya renews anti-migration deal with Italy

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FILE PHOTO: Migrants are rescued in the Mediterranean as they attempted to make the precarious sea crossing to Europe in August 2019./ Getty Images

A deal to stop the arrival of migrants into Italy from Libya was automatically renewed on Saturday, as the European nation continues with its efforts to tackle the illegal migration menace.

The MoU between the two countries was signed in 2017, setting 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”.

Under the deal, Italy provides training and resources to Libyan coastguard, and also finances migrant centres.

Migrants who are intercepted while trying to make the journeys to Europe are held in detention centres in the North African country.

Libya is the preferred departure point for migrants seeking to reach Europe illegally, though the numbers have dropped significantly since the 2017 deal.

The illegal migration has been fueled by human trafficking cells which have taken advantage of the political situation in the North African country.

Libya descended into chaos in 2011 after the ouster and killing of former leader Muammar Gaddafi in an operation backed by NATO.

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