EU says it will limit inflatable boat exports to Libya to stop traffickers
Posted 1:45 a.m. Tuesday
The European Union will limit the number of inflatable boats and motors it sends to Libya in order to prevent human trafficking.
"These are devices that are used by traffickers for their smuggling activities. So this decision we have taken on the European Union level will help (in) making their businesses and their lives a bit more complicated," Federica Mogherini, the EU's chief foreign policy official, said at a news conference Monday.
The EU said the restrictions will not prevent exports or sales when they are "meant for legitimate uses by the civilian population, for instance for fishermen, who may need motors for their boats."
More than 100,000 migrants have arrived in Europe by sea this year -- with Italy being their preferred first port of call. Some never make it. More than 2,300 have been reported dead or missing in the Mediterranean in 2017, according to the International Organization for Migration.
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Many fleeing Libya hope to escape the volatile situation and civil unrest that has rocked the country following the death of its ousted dictator, Moammar Gadhafi.
On the whole, the migrants come from across Africa and the Middle East, some fleeing violence and persecution and others looking for economic refuge.
Mogherini said the EU would continue to work with Libya to help the country out of its security crisis.
EU foreign ministers also agreed to renew the bloc's mission to assist Libyan authorities with border management, law enforcement and criminal justice, particularly along the country's southern borders.
"Libya has enough resources -- including human resources, economic resources and natural resources -- to find its own way out of this political crisis, which is the essential precondition to work on security issues and also on migration," she said.