On Friday, May 28, Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio, Maltese Foreign Minister Evarist Bartholo and the European Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi paid a visit to the Libyan capital, Tripoli, to hold meetings with Libyan Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh, Foreign Minister Najla Mangoush and Interior Minister Khaled Mazen.
The European ministers and the commissioner stressed that a stable political climate is a primary factor in the cooperation to be established. In addition, the authorities, who pledged to support Libya in terms of economic growth and job creation, announced that they would continue their support activities on the coastline and southern borders of Libya regarding irregular migration. The parties also held talks to open flights from Libya to European airspace.
In a press statement made after the meetings, Foreign Minister Najla Mangoush declared that they agreed with the EU to protect Libya’s southern borders in the fight against illegal immigration. Mangoush stated that they will receive assistance from the European Union (EU) in terms of resources and technology for the protection of southern borders, which are considered as the source of illegal immigration. In addition, Mangoush added that Libya and European countries suffer from the problem of illegal immigration.
The main priority of many EU member states, especially those on the Mediterranean coast, in the Libyan crisis has been to prevent illegal and irregular immigration. Many EU countries, especially Italy, provided both financial and technical support to the Libyan Coast Guard Forces during the conflicts that have taken place since 2014. In this context, EU countries have frequently brought this issue to the agenda during visits to the Government of National Unity (GNU), which took office in March and will supervise the country’s transition until the presidential and parliamentary elections to be held on December 24, 2021.