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Libya says ‘cannot continue’ hosting Europe-bound migrants

Many of those who risk the journey across the Mediterranean have to be rescued (BBC)..READ THE FULL ORIGINAL ARTICLE HERE▶▶

Authorities in Libya said Wednesday that up to four in five foreigners in the North African country are undocumented, and hosting migrants hoping to reach Europe has become “unacceptable.”

Libya, about 300 kilometres (186 miles) from Italy, is a key departure point for migrants, primarily from sub-Saharan African countries, risking perilous Mediterranean Sea journeys to seek a better life in Europe.

But with mounting efforts by the European Union to curb irregular migration, many have found themselves stranded in Libya.

“Today, there are approximately 2.5 million foreigners in Libya,” said Imad Trabelsi, the interior minister in the war-torn country’s Tripoli-based administration.

He told a news conference that “70 to 80 percent of them entered the country illegally.”

“The issue of immigration concerns our national security,” said Trabelsi.

It’s time to resolve this problem,” he added, because “Libya cannot continue to pay its price”.

According to Trabelsi, the country has turned from a “transit country to a country of settlement,” and undocumented migrants “don’t pay taxes.”

“The resettlement of migrants in Libya is unacceptable.”

Libya is still struggling to recover from years of war and chaos after the 2011 overthrow of longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi.

Smugglers and human traffickers have taken advantage of the climate of instability that has dominated the vast country since.

Since the start of 2024, Libyan authorities have “repatriated 6,000 migrants” through a UN scheme, the minister said.

Tripoli is set to host the Trans-Mediterranean Migration Forum on July 17, bringing together African and European governments and aiming to forge “a new strategy for development projects in the countries of departure,” the Libyan government said on Facebook.

The meeting comes as the EU and Italy have ramped up efforts to combat irregular migration.

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