Italy’s new interior minister, Marco Minniti, is expected in Tripoli next week for talks on terrorism and curtailing migrant smuggling operations in Libya. He is due to meet Faiez Serraj, head of Presidency Council, the aim being to work out an agreement on blocking illegal migration routes from Libya.
“Around 90 per cent of migrants arriving in Italy come from Libya”, the Italian interior ministry has said in a statement.
The number in 2016 was up to 176, 554. That is eight times higher than in 2013.
According to a UN report, in most of the 2016 migrants arriving in Italy were from Nigeria, Eritrea and Guinea.
Minniti was in Tunis on Tuesday for talks on the same two subjects with his Tunisian counterpart Hedi Majdoub.
“Some of the questions concerning terrorism and illegal migration must be addressed outside our country and Tunisia is an essential partner in joint action against terrorism and human traffickers,” the Italian minister later told RaiNews 24.
“We decided to launch a new phase together dedicated to fighting terrorism and preventing illegal immigration,” he added. This, according to the Tunisian interior ministry, would include increased Tunisian border controls, the sharing of information with Italy, and Italian logistical support.
Increasingly, the Italian government’s objective is to prevent migrants entering rather then leaving Libya, well before they would journey across the Mediterranean.
Stopping immigration is a top priority of the new government of Paolo Gentiloni and his centre-left Democratic Party.