Italy delivers the first patrol boat to Libya to fight against the smuggling of migrants

The ceremony took place in the presence of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Antonio Tajani, of the Foreign Minister of the Government of National Unity (GUN) of Libya, Najla el Mangoush, and of the European Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighborhood Policy, Oliver Varhelyi

Italy delivered a patrol boat today “class 300″ newly manufactured to the Libyan government authorities in Tripoli, at the Vittoria shipyard in Adria (Rovigo). The ceremony took place in the presence of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Antonio Tajani, of the Foreign Minister of the Libyan Government of National Unity (GUN), Najla el Mangoush, and the European Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighborhood Policy, Oliver Varhelyi. Class 300 patrol boats are specialized for sea rescue activities (Search and Rescue, Sar) and are a type of naval unit already in use by the Italian Coast Guard. This is the first delivery of a series of vessels that will contribute to significantly strengthening the capabilities of the Libyan authorities in sea rescue activities and in the fight against the smuggling of migrants and human beings, in the framework of a renewed cooperation that the Italian government has launched with Libya on migration issues and border control. Today's delivery will allow the Tripoli authorities to stem the effects of irregular migration and is part of Italy's strategy to support the countries of the southern shore of the Mediterranean so that it is no longer a place of death and to have a greater role throughout the African continent.

In his speech, the holder of the Farnesina he said: “We don't want the Mediterranean to be a cemetery for migrants”. "I want to thank Minister Mangoush for her presence and for her personal commitment to deepen the fight against illegal immigration," Tajani said, adding that the first of a series of boats that will help strengthen Libyan capabilities and " it demonstrates the EU's will to counter the exploitation of irregular immigration”. “This result will be followed soon by the delivery of the other units. I want to thank the workers, an example of Italian excellence recognized throughout the world”, added the owner of the Farnesina. Cooperation with Libya is a priority for Italy, as demonstrated by the memorandum signed in January. “Italy and Libya must work together to find a solution to the migratory phenomenon together. Libya is the main port of departure for migrants arriving from the Mediterranean. The country is strategic in the fight against human trafficking,” Tajani said, citing the renewed support and collaboration with transit countries that it needs to strengthen. "The Libyan authorities have made efforts, but the irregular flows are alas high", he added, recalling Italy's commitment also in the Irini and Eubam Libya missions. "Italy's priority is the stabilization of Libya and we need greater cooperation from the EU", he concluded.

On the phenomenon of migration discussions are also planned with the authorities of eastern Libya to address the issue of irregular immigration, Tajani then highlighted. Last year, in fact, about 17 percent of irregular migrants arrived precisely from the eastern Libyan route. “Italy can be the protagonist of Libyan unity and is talking to all Libyan interlocutors. When we were in Libya, Haftar (the commander of the self-proclaimed Libyan National Army) was in Paris for personal reasons. We intend to speak to all parties involved,” he continued. The theme will also be at the center of talks scheduled for next week with the UN envoy for Libya, Abdoulaye Bathily.

Also present at the ceremony was Libyan Foreign Minister Mangoush. The Government of National Unity of Libya (GUN), Italy and the European Union are "working very hard together to prevent the problem of illegal immigration," he said. “I am happy to be present at this historic event between Libya and Italy with the support of the European Union. We are working very hard together to prevent the problem of illegal immigration and today we have established the first step towards better stability and security of the Mediterranean region,” she said. The delivery of the "class 300" patrol boat today to Libya "increases the ability to control the coasts and the Mediterranean, and reflects Italy's support for the government in Tripoli", he indicated. The delivery "increases the role of Libya and the safety of navigation in the Mediterranean", Mangoush added, highlighting the need for a "Euro-Libyan path to address migration". “Border security requires cooperation and a medium- and long-term strategy,” she concluded.

Applause for the delivery of the patrol boat to the Tripoli government also from European Commissioner Varhely. Libya needs stability, which is not only created with elections, but also with a safer environment for Libyans, that's why we need to help Libya stabilize, she said. The Commissioner added that the European Union is now looking to scale up activities, not only to help create a more prosperous future in North Africa, but also to help the authorities stop these illegal activities. This was stated by the EU Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighborhood Policy, Oliver Varhelyi, on the occasion of the press conference on the sidelines of the delivery of the first "Classe 300" vessel to the Libyan authorities, at the Vittoria shipyard in Adria (Rovigo). “We have a plan to help not only member states but also partner countries in North Africa. Today's delivery is to help secure Libya's borders, he said. We help them protect their and our borders. Helping them create jobs is the best way to stop irregular immigration”.

During the delivery ceremony in Adria, Luigi Duò, president of the Vittoria shipyard, said he was particularly proud. The "Classe 300" patrol boat will contribute to the fight against crime and the fight against illicit trafficking. The "Classe 300" patrol boat "is unsinkable, self-righting, is 20 meters long and weighs 33 tons," he added, indicating that it has a speed of 35 knots with two engines, a range of 600 nautical miles, and can rescue up to 200 migrants . On 28 January, on the occasion of the Prime Minister's visit to Libya, Giorgia Meloni, in Tripoli, ministers Tajani and Mangoush signed a memorandum of understanding governing the delivery of five boats to the Libyan coast guard. Today's delivery is the first operational aspect of the memorandum for the delivery of five naval units (two "Corrubia" and three "300 class") to the Libyan coast guard. The supply is part of the Sibmmil European project financed by the Commission's Trust Fund Africa with over 42 million euros, of which Italy is the main implementing entity through the Ministry of the Interior. The project, launched in July 2017, aims to strengthen the capacity of the competent Libyan authorities in the areas of border and migration management, including border control and surveillance, fight against smuggling and trafficking in human beings, search and rescue at sea and in the desert. The specific objectives of the project are: Strengthen the operational capacity of the Libyan authorities responsible for maritime surveillance, addressing irregular border crossings, including the strengthening of SAR operations and related coast guard tasks; set up basic facilities to allow Libyan guards to better organize SAR, border surveillance and control operations; assist interested Libyan authorities in defining and declaring a Libyan SAR region with adequate SAR standard operating procedures, including the completion of studies for fully fledged operations rooms; develop the operational capacity of the Libyan authorities competent in the surveillance and control of the land borders in the desert, focusing on the sections of the southern borders most affected by illegal crossings.

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