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    Italian Financial Police rescue unit approaches an inflatable dinghy crowded with migrants off the Libyan coast, in the Mediterranean Sea, Wednesday, April 22, 2015

    EU Anti-Migrant Smuggling Operation, Libya Sign Coastguard Training Memorandum

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    The chief of the EU’s operation Sophia to prevent human trafficking and the Libyan government have signed a memorandum on training the Libyan coast guard, local media reported Tuesday.

    ROME (Sputnik) — According to the Italian Askanews agency, EU Navy Commander Adm. Enrico Credendino, the chief of the EU’s operation Sophia, and representative of the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) Abdalh Toumia signed the memorandum.

    According to media reports, the training mission has three phases — training at sea, aboard one of the ships of the Italian Navy, in a training center in one of the EU member states or Libya, and on board of the Libyan coast guard ships in the country's territorial waters.

    EU Border Assistance Mission (EUBAM) in Libya, the United Nations and EU border agency Frontex are involved in the Libyan cost guard training program. Under the program, EU Mediterranean naval forces are to train Libyans to run a small coast guard fleet so that they could combat people smuggling under three months.

    The EU operation Sophia was launched by the bloc in July 2015 in a bid to stem the flow of migrants and refugees traveling from the Middle East and North Africa, particularly from Libya, to Italy. The naval operation is said to have saved some 9,000 lives over the last year.

    Thousands of people have embarked on the perilous voyage across the Mediterranean since 2015 in a bid to escape war and poverty in North Africa and the Middle East.


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