BBC: Libya given migrant patrol boats – 15 May 2009
‘The Italian government has given Libya three patrol boats as part of a deal aimed at combating the flow of illegal migrants making the crossing to Italy. The agreement between Tripoli and Rome to maintain joint naval patrols in the Mediterranean was signed earlier this month and comes into force on Friday. [***] An additional three boats will be handed over to Tripoli in the coming weeks. The vessels will take part in joint patrols with the Italian navy from Friday. [***] Last week, the Italy transferred more than 200 stranded migrants to Tripoli after the Libyan government agreed to their immediate return. Mr Maroni said the move marked a “turning point”, but the UN’s refugee agency and the Vatican both said the policy breached international law and risked turning back legitimate asylum seekers. Libya has no functioning asylum system and is not a party to the 1951 UN convention relating to the status of refugees. [***] Correspondents say many Italians believe their country is being left on its own by the EU to deal with the problem of illegal immigration and are ready to support stricter measures to control the flow.’
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