Libya rejects Europe’s step to return migrants to Libya

Mohamed Sayala

The Foreign Minister of the Presidential Council, Mohamed Sayala, stressed that Libya completely rejects the process of returning illegal immigrants from Europe to its territory, calling on the international community to enhance their role with regard to pressure on the countries of origin to stem the influx of migrants.

“Libya does not accept this unjust and illicit procedure, it has more than 700,000 immigrants on its territory, the migrants must be sent back to the countries of origin that they came from, because Libya is just a transit country,” the minister said in a brief statement released by the Foreign Ministry on Wednesday.

He added that Libya has borne enough, and the international community has to shoulder its responsibilities by pressuring the countries of origin to re-accept their nationals and bear the cost of returning them back.

The minister’s remarks followed the Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini’s statements, in which he threatened to send 177 migrants who are on board the Italian rescue ship Diciotti back to Libya if the EU refuses to receive them.

The new Italian government has refused to accept migrants and prevented the rescue vessels from docking at its ports.