21:13 GMT02 March 2021
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    The situation in Libya is unstable and unsafe, with the country lacking appropriate asylum system, thus duplicating the deal on migrants that the European Union reached earlier with Turkey would be wrong in the Libyan case, spokesman for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) William Spindler told Sputnik on Thursday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Curbing migration from Libya will be one of the main topics for discussion on Friday at an informal EU leaders' meeting in Malta. According to a draft declaration leaked ahead of Friday's summit, the bloc will help supervise Libya's land borders by offering financial aid and equipment to help ensure fewer people entered Libya from neighboring Algeria, Egypt and Tunisia, thus stemming the flow of migrants from the Libyan coast to EU states.

    "The situation in Libya is very different from that in Turkey. Because of the prevalent insecurity and lack of an asylum system, UNHCR does not consider that Libya is a safe place to return people to or to disembark those rescued at sea in international waters," Spindler said.

    The UNHCR spokesman added that considerable challenges to humanitarian work existed in Libya, with unstable and unpredictable political and security conditions, absence of appropriate reception centers and deplorable conditions of refugees' detention centers in Libya being some of the main problems.

    The idea of the EU-Turkey-style deal was put forth by Malta's Prime Minister Joseph Muscat in January. He suggested an agreement with Libya similar to the Brussels-Ankara deal, under which Turkey pledged to take back all undocumented migrants who come ashore in Greece if EU countries receive Syrian refugees resettled from Turkish camps on a one-for-one basis.

    In 2016, Italy saw a record 181,000 arrivals of migrants that crossed the Mediterranean Sea, with the bulk of them embarking on the risky trip from Libya. Some 5,000 people are estimated to have lost their lives in attempts to reach European shores.


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    European Union, EU-Turkey migrant deal, Turkey, Libya
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