Prime Minister of Libya Fayez al-Sarraj at a meeting at EU Commission in Brussels, Belgium, 02 February 2017. EPA/STEPHANIE LECOCQ
Prime Minister of Libya Fayez al-Sarraj at a meeting at EU Commission in Brussels, Belgium, 02 February 2017. EPA/STEPHANIE LECOCQ

Libyan prime minister Fayez al-Serraj has said that the country is not willing to have EU migrant centers built in its territory under any circumstances and that no agreements will be signed to take back refugees from the EU.

Libya will not take any migrants back from the EU, Fayez al-Sarraj, the head of Libya's Government of National Accord (GNA), has said. He stressed that this decision would not change even in exchange for money and that any repatriation would have to be managed directly with the migrants' countries of origin. 


Serraj reiterated, in an interview published Friday in the German daily Bild, what his government had previously said. 

The EU is currently planning to create landing centers in countries of transit for migrants such as Libya to identify which do not have a right to asylum and should thus be repatriated. 

'NGOs should not interfere with the Coast Guard' 

The Libyan PM said that he was shocked that no other country wants to accept migrants but that they "have asked us" to takes hundreds of thousands, especially since "most of the refugees that leave form Libya are not Libyans". 

The repatriations, thus, will have to be managed with countries of origin, "putting pressure" on countries bordering Libya. Serraj also discussed NGOs, which the EU has asked not to interfere with rescue activities by the Libyan Coast Guard at sea. 

"Many of the refugees know that those boats are there," he said, and that thanks to them "they can easily complete their journey to Europe". 

'Flourishing' criminal activities 

The number of arrivals in Europe has dropped sharply over the past year. Nevertheless, Libyan authorities have warned that criminal groups are "flourishing" and that "thousands of people want to leave right now". Serraj added that the EU has "thus far only made empty promises", asking for more training of the Libyan Coast Guard and technical support like satellites and electronic border monitoring. He stressed that the complete stabilization of the country was key. 

"Security gaps and the current political and economic stability offer criminal organizations a great deal of opportunities for human trafficking," he said, asking Europe and the international community for help "to improve refugee camps". 
 

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