(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)
Rescued migrants arrived in Italy after being rescued by an Italian cargo ship off the coast of Libya
Eighty-four migrants are reportedly still missing after the inflatable craft they were traveling in sank off the Libyan coast on Friday in rough seas.
An Italian cargo ship was able to rescue 26 individuals who were aboard the rubber boat about seven miles off the Libyan coastal city of Sabratha.
The rescued migrants had come from several West African countries and left Libya heading towards Europe on Friday, reported a spokesman for the Italian coast guard.
The International organization for Migration said that in 2016 so far 1,244 migrants from Africa, the Middle east and South Asia have drowned at sea while on their perilous journey to Europe often on overcrowded and hazardous crafts.
The migrants use Libya as their destination point from which they leave for Italy, with officials expecting a rise in the number of migrants attempting to cross from Libya’s central Mediterranean route to increase due to border closings in eastern European countries.
In a meeting between Libya’s Vice President Ahmed Maetig and Italy’s Interior Minister Angelino Alfano in Rome in April, the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) expressed its desire to enter into an agreement with the European Union, similar to the one between the Turkey and the EU, in order to restrict the increasing number of migrants who are leaving from Libya towards Europe
Maetig thanked Italy for its continued support of the unity government and expressed hopes that Italy would continue to play a key role in the national reconciliation process towards the construction of a united and democratic Libya.
The international community sees the unification of Libya under the GNA as the country’s best hope at creating a unified and democratic Libya and during his meeting with Alfano, Maetig expressed his thanks to Italy for its key role in supporting the unity government’s attempts at moving forward as a country through unification.