Italy's naval mission tackling migrants off Libya poses no detriment to Libyan sovereignty: Italian authorities

Source: Xinhua| 2017-08-02 05:38:44|Editor: yan
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ROME, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- Italy's naval mission to tackle migrant trafficking off Libya would pose no detriment to Libyan sovereignty, Italian authorities said on Tuesday.

The remark came as Defense Minister Roberta Pinotti and Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano briefed parliamentary committees on the mission, which was approved by Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni's cabinet on Friday.

"The task assigned to our ships will be to ensure logistical, technical, and operational support to Libyan naval units through joint and coordinated activities," Pinotti told the committees.

Italian navy ships would operate on the base of the needs expressed by Libyan authorities only, according to the minister.

"There will be no interference, nor wound to the Libyan sovereignty: if anything, our goal is to boost such sovereignty," Pinotti said.

The assignment would see deployment of Italian ships within Libyan waters to provide support to the Libyan coast guard in tackling migrant traffickers in the Mediterranean.

The Central Mediterranean, between Libyan and Italy, has in fact become the major route for migrants and refugees trying to enter Europe to flee poverty and war.

The mission was being undertaken on a specific request sent on July 23 by Fayez Sarraj, the head of the UN-backed Libyan government based in Tripoli, according to Gentiloni.

Speaking before his Defense colleague, Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano said the mission would fall into Italy's comprehensive approach to try to bring peace in the Libyan scenario.

"Libyan unity and stability coincide with Italy's national interest, and the request of support was born in a climate of absolute and mutual trust," he told lawmakers.

Alfano also pointed out Italy wants to avoid "the fragmentation in the diplomatic action of the international community" to bring peace in Libya.

"Italy aims at tracing all of the recent unilateral initiatives on Libya back to a common factor, and focus all efforts on supporting the action of the UN special envoy to Libya," he stressed.