The meeting in Tripoli between Italian Defense minister Guerini and the head of the UN-recognized Libyan government Fayez al-Serraj | Photo: ANSA/US Defense Ministry
The meeting in Tripoli between Italian Defense minister Guerini and the head of the UN-recognized Libyan government Fayez al-Serraj | Photo: ANSA/US Defense Ministry

Amid growing tensions in Italy due to an increase in migrant arrivals, the Italian government has launched a new call for tenders to find a second ship to use for quarantining migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile Defense Minister Lorenzo Guerini has travelled to Libya to re-launch cooperation between the two countries.

The Italian interior ministry is increasing efforts to quarantine migrants reaching Sicily's coasts as tension is growing due to an increase in migrant arrivals by sea and land.

The government has launched a new call for tenders to find a second ship to use for quarantining migrants, which was published online on August 5. The GNV Azzurra is currently used for this purpose.

In a multi-pronged approach, meanwhile, Defense Minister Lorenzo Guerini on August 5 met in Tripoli with Fayez al-Serraj, the head of the UN-recognized government in Libya, in order to re-launch cooperation between Italy and Libya to promote the stabilization of the North African country from which many migrants depart.

Second ship for Calabria region

The second quarantine ship, whose call for bids can be consulted online, will be stationed off the southern coast of the Calabria region, the interior ministry said. The notice can be consulted on the website of the infrastructure and transport ministry together with the technical documents, ministry sources said.

"Expressions of interest must be presented by 10 am on Friday, August 7," they said.

Italy-Libya relations

During his visit to Libya, Minister Guerini discussed projects with the government there, including installing a new hospital to enable a medical center in Misrata to be entirely devoted to COVID-19 patients.

Aid was also pledged to de-mine some districts of Tripoli where mines were left in civilian homes by the militias of eastern Libyan strongman General Khalifa Haftar. The Italian government has also promised to help train military personnel in Libya.

"We are fully available to immediately start the further initiatives of cooperation that have been defined" during the visit, Guerini said. "Over the years we have made important efforts to develop civil/military cooperation with local authorities that we will [now pursue] with renewed energy. For this reason, our presence in Libya remains a priority along the road to pacification and institutional reorganization that we all wish for," the minister concluded.
 

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