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No changes to migration accord with Libya: Italy


Rome, March 14 (IANS/AKI) The has no plans to revise a 2017 agreement with aimed at halting the influx of boat migrants from the lawless North African country, and Deputy Premier told lawmakers on Wednesday.

"must be maintained as a priority country for the European Union's cooperation strategy," told a hearing at the lower house of parliament.

"We are doing everything possible and more to ensure the presence of international organisations such as at official migrant camps in order to guarantee that human rights are upheld," he said.

Ending people smuggling is the only way to wipe out human rights abuses that have been reported against migrants held in illegal camps, claimed.

"Human trafficking is currently more profitable than arms and drugs trafficking."

Libya's coastguard has been patrolling the since striking a deal with in February 2017 that empowered it to intercept and bring migrants back to a country where aid agencies say they suffer torture and abuse.

Salvini has reinforced the 2017 deal, which entailed providing The accord was made by Marco Minniti, the former from the centre-left Democratic party, in an attempt to stem the migrant flow.

He also said that pledges to ensure Libya's authorities fully respect migrants' human rights and vows to uphold the country's sovereignty and international law as well.

"Our countries is committed to making sure than Libyan authorities act in full respect of human right and that conditions are improved for migrants and refugees in Libya," he said.

"Italy, in full respect of Libya's sovereignty and international conventions has supported the internationally approved efforts of its authorities within the framework of the MoU on cooperation to fight illegal immigration and human trafficking," Salvini said.

Thanks to the measures in place to fight people smuggling, migrant arrivals to Italy had plunged by 95 percent this year from 2018, and even sharper drop than was recorded last year from 2017, Salvini noted.

Just 335 boat migrants reached Italy in 2019 compared with 5,938 in 2018, he said.

is working with international organisations on voluntary repatriation programmes, which the government is especially eager to expand, Salvini told the MPs.



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, March 14 2019. 00:20 IST