(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)
Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj said in an interview with German newspaper Welt am Sonntag published on Sunday that Libya would not accept returned migrants from Europe.
“We will not accept that the EU send back immigrants to us,” said Sarraj. “Europe needs to find ways to bring them back to their home countries. They cannot live with us.”
Sarraj said that Libya would not agree to a deal like the one made between Turkey and Europe and take back refugees who chose Libya as their destination point to cross the Mediterranean to get into Italy because the situation in Libya is different from Turkey.
A deal between Brussels and Turkey was made over two months to help stem the flow of refugees crossing from the Aegean Sea from Turkey to Greece. Under the agreement, for every Syrian migrant returned to Turkey, an EU country would take in a syrian refugee.
The statement came after Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz suggested that a similar deal be struck with Libya to help stem the flow of migrants to Europe.
More than 1000 migrants died last week trying to cross the Mediterranean in hopes of reaching Italy, and over a 100 migrants washed up ashore in western Libya near the city of Zuwara.
The complete lack of security in Libya since the ousting of former dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 has made the country the perfect place for people smugglers to make millions of dollars packing people escaping war and poverty into unsafe boats in the hopes that they reach European shores.
Sarraj has stated that putting a stop to the large number of migrants and people smuggling taking place in Libya is one of his priorities, however he has maintained that only through the establishment of a stable and secure Libya will the issue of people smuggling be put to an end.