"A few days ago, Prime Minister Sarraj sent me a letter, requesting technical assistance from the Italian government to jointly fight against human trafficking by means of naval forces. It [the mission] would be carried out in Libyan territorial waters with the help of military ships that would be provided by Italy," Gentiloni said at a press conference following the negotiations with Sarraj.
The Italian official stressed that the Defense Ministry was now considering the request made by the Libyan authorities.
"This request… represents a new and very important step in combating human smuggling from Libya," Gentiloni said, adding that he considered it necessary to reply to the request positively.
More than 110,000 migrants and refugees arrived in Europe by sea in 2017. Italy remains the leader in the number of maritime arrivals, with 93,314 migrants reaching its shores by July 21, and over 2,300 people losing their lives in the Mediterranean Sea.