Libya threatens EU over African immigrants

Libya's interim interior minister has warned

that Tripoli could "facilitate" the passage of

those people seeking to get to Europe illegally

unless the European Union (EU) helps it combat

the problem.

"With regards to illegal immigration, I am

warning the world, and the European Union in

particular, that if they do not shoulder the

responsibility with us, the state of Libya will

take a position on this matter that could

facilitate the quick passage of this flood of

people through Libya since God has made us a

transit point for this flood," Salah Mazek told a

news conference on Saturday.

Mazek said Libya was "suffering" because

thousands of mainly sub-Saharan Africans were

spreading disease, crime and drugs in the North

African nation, the AFP news agency reported.

"Libya has paid the price. Now it's Europe's

turn to pay," Mazek added.

For years, Libya has been a springboard for

hundreds of thousands of Africans seeking a

better life in Europe.

Many cram into makeshift boats to attempt the

perilous Mediterranean crossing to Malta or the

Italian island of Lampedusa off Sicily. Hundreds

lose their lives each year.

More than 22,000 migrants have arrived in Italy

since the start of the year, 10 times more than

the number during the same period in 2013.

Former leader Muammar Gaddafi, deposed and

killed in the 2011 uprising, turned on and off

the flow of illegal migrants as a way of exerting

pressure on Brussels.

Shortly before the uprising erupted in February

that year, he demanded nearly $7bn a year

from the EU to solve the problem.

Mazek said he had just returned from a trip to

France where he had asked his counterpart for

help to tackle the problem, but without

specifying the nature of any such assistance.


Kofi Oppong Kyekyeku

I am a Ghanaian Broadcast Journalist/Writer who has an interest in General News, Sports, Entertainment, Health, Lifestyle and many more.

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