Libyan coastguards rescue 215 migrants off Libya's coast

Libyan coastguards rescue 215 migrants off Libya's coast

Libyan coastguards rescue 215 migrants off Libya's coast

"Migrant flows to Italy unfortunately continue to increase", added EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopolous. "If there's one country under huge pressure, it's Italy".

The idea is to intercept migrants before they reach global waters and take them to camps in Libya where their human rights would be protected - "a big step forward" from current conditions in the country's migrant holding camps, Minniti said. Neither he nor Avramopoulos said when other aid may be allocated. "There will be camps that are created together with the humanitarian organisations in full respect of people's rights", Minniti said, adding that migrants will be able to seek asylum in Europe from the Libyan camps.

The meeting followed on the agreement reached between Libya and the European Union last month to train the Libyan coast guard and provide it with patrol boats to better monitor the north African country's shores. He insisted the Libya agreement and meeting were not just "talk" but strategic steps toward managing a mass migration to Europe.

Just this past weekend more than 3,300 people were rescued from unseaworthy vessels off the north African country, bringing the number of arrivals in Italy to almost 20,000 so far in 2017 - a significant increase on previous years. The leader of Tripoli's UN-backed government is seeking more resources. Fayez al-Seraj spoke to the group behind closed doors, "asking for more money and equipment" said an anonymous source. Rescuers picked up about 3,300 migrants from rubber boats off the coast of Libya on Saturday.

Smugglers are thriving in the power vacuum left after the overthrow of former Libyan strong-man Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

According to the Italian government, 16,206 people have been rescued in the sea by Friday - compared to 11,911 by the same time past year. Two governments are now vying for control - in Tobruk to the east and Tripoli to the west.

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