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Italy Accepts First Migrants Via 'Humanitarian Corridor' From Libya

© REUTERS / Ismail ZitounyAfrican migrants wait to be deported at Mitiga International Airport, east of Tripoli, Libya, February 14, 2017.
African migrants wait to be deported at Mitiga International Airport, east of Tripoli, Libya, February 14, 2017. - Sputnik International
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ROME(Sputnik) - A total of 162 migrants, mostly women and children deemed vulnerable, arrived at the Pratica di Mare Air Base near Rome.

The first two flights have landed in Italy under the humanitarian corridor program for migrants stuck in camps in Libya, the Italian Interior Ministry said Friday.

"Today is a historic day: a humanitarian corridor from Libya to Europe has opened for the first time," Interior Minister Marco Minniti, who greeted the arrivals, said.

Officers of the Irish Navy ship Le Eithne rescue migrants in the Mediterranean Sea. - Sputnik International
'This Will Not Be Easy': Italy, Libya to Find It Hard to Stop Migration Flow
Italy will continue to cooperate with the United Nations to combat migrant trafficking, he added, stressing that Friday's arrivals are historic due to the fact that Libya is not party to the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.

European countries have been experiencing a severe migration crisis since 2015 due to the influx of thousands of migrants and refugees fleeing violence around their homes in the Middle East and Northern Africa.

Hundreds of thousands of migrants are trying to reach EU states using various routes, mostly via Greece or Italy.

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