Saturday 24 March 2018

US Backs NATO Force Off Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar


A NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July, according to the Italian government. There are fears the numbers of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked.

Libyan security forces detained more than 200 migrants from across Africa, and an alleged smuggler, following a raid on a safe house last week in Tripoli.

This type of enforcement is Europe’s long-term hope for stemming the flow of migrants. More than 16,000 people made the crossing from North Africa to Italy in the first three months of 2016, almost double the rate last year.

The United States has offered its backing for a proposed NATO naval operation off Libya. It is not clear, however, what the patrol ships would do with the intercepted migrants, says policy analyst Riccardo Fabiani of the Eurasia Group.