A visiting British minister on Monday offered his country’s “technical expertise and practical support” to help curb illegal immigration through Libya, a hub for African migrants bound for Europe.
“We discussed how we can help and support those who are working in such a difficult area and give them the benefit of both technical expertise and practical support from the United Kingdom,” said Alistair Burt, minister of state for the Middle East.
He singled out efforts to monitor “the whole routes that migrants take from sub-Saharan Africa” to Libya.
Such efforts would involve “giving information to those who seek to travel on the route to tell them that there might be at risk of exploitation… and to intercept them on the route to persuade them to go back and to give them repatriation packages”, Burt said.
“What must be stopped is the trafficking and the migration of people that is exploited and provides the opportunity of significant amounts of money for criminal gangs,” said Burt, who held talks with Libya’s unity government head Fayez al-Sarraj and the UN envoy to Libya, Ghassan Salame.
Libya has descended into chaos since the fall of Moammar Gaddafi’s regime in a 2011 revolt, and it has become a hub for hundreds of thousands of sub-Saharan African migrants trying to reach Europe by sea.