Libya rejects EU plan for asylum processing centres

2018-07-20 17:50
Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, head of the UN-backed unity government in Tripoli, leaves the Elysee Palace following the International conference on Libya held in Paris. ( File, AFP)

Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, head of the UN-backed unity government in Tripoli, leaves the Elysee Palace following the International conference on Libya held in Paris. ( File, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Libya's prime minister said on Friday he would not allow the EU to set up asylum processing centres in his country, in a new setback for European leaders seeking to curb new migrant arrivals.

"We are strictly against Europe officially placing illegal migrants who are no longer wanted in the EU in our country," Fayez al-Sarraj said in an interview with German daily Bild.

"We also won't agree on any deals with EU money about taking in more illegal migrants," he vowed, adding that European leaders should instead put pressure on migrants' origin countries to stop them embarking on their journey in the first place.

During a fractious summit in June, EU leaders agreed to set up "disembarkation platforms" outside the bloc to process migrants.

Such centres would operate in cooperation with the UN refugee agency and the International Organisation for Migration.

But no country has so far offered to host a reception centre, where authorities would distinguish between irregular migrants and asylum seekers admissible into the EU.

Morocco has already given a flat no to the plan, while Tunisia previously rejected it.

Albania has also ruled itself out with Prime Minister Edi Rama saying that such centres mean "dumping desperate people somewhere like toxic waste that no one wants".

Meanwhile, Sarraj also threw out claims from Spanish rescue group Proactiva Open Arms that the Libyan coastguard saved other migrants on board a dinghy but not two women and a little boy.

The child and one of the women were found dead when Spanish rescuers arrived, but the other woman has been saved.

"These are outrageous accusations, and they are not true. Our coastguards have already clarified this," said Sarraj, who heads the UN-backed unity government in Tripoli.

"Every day, we save hundreds of people on the coast of Libya. Our ships are active non-stop," he said, stressing that Tripoli needs more technical and financial aid to improve its rescue missions.

Under a controversial deal with the EU, Libyan coastguards intercept migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean. But the UN has slammed the policy as "inhuman", noting that the migrants are simply brought back to "horrific" detention centres in Libya.

* Sign up to News24's top Africa news in your inbox: SUBSCRIBE TO THE HELLO AFRICA NEWSLETTER

FOLLOW News24 Africa on Twitter and Facebook

Read more on:    un  |  eu  |  libya  |  north africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

SQL Reporter

Cape Town
Communicate Cape Town IT
R10 000.00 - R12 000.00 Per Month

Reporting Accountant

Cape Town
Network Finance Professional / Prudential
R310 000.00 - R360 000.00 Per Year

HSE Manager

Cape Town
Tumaini Consulting
R550 000.00 - R650 000.00 Per Year

Property [change area]

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.