Italy be­gins naval mis­sion to help Libya curb mi­grant flows

Daily Trust - - DIGEST -

Italy be­gan a lim­ited naval mis­sion on Wed­nes­day to help Libya’s coast­guard curb mi­grant flows, which have be­come a source of po­lit­i­cal fric­tion be­fore na­tional elec­tions ex­pected early next year.

An Ital­ian pa­trol boat en­tered Libyan wa­ters and headed to­wards the port of Tripoli within min­utes of a vote in Italy’s par­lia­ment au­tho­riz­ing the de­ploy­ment. A sec­ond ves­sel was ex­pected to join it in the com­ing days.

Italy an­nounced the oper­a­tion last week, say­ing it had been re­quested by Libya’s U.N.-backed gov­ern­ment. It ini­tially hoped to send six ships into Libyan ter­ri­to­rial wa­ters, but the plans had to be scaled back fol­low­ing protests from Tripoli.

“(We will) pro­vide lo­gis­ti­cal, tech­ni­cal and op­er­a­tional sup­port for Libyan naval ves­sels, help­ing them and sup­port­ing them in shared and co­or­di­nated ac­tions,” De­fence Min­is­ter Roberta Pinotti said ahead of Wed­nes­day’s vote.

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