Fayez al-Sarraj, the head of the western Libya-based Government of National Accord (GNA), has lambasted European leaders for their "hypocrisy" on the migrant question and called for more intensive cooperation.
"I see so much hypocrisy in European demands toward our country. You are asking us to hold over 600,000 migrants inside our borders, of which only 30,000 are in official refugee camps. But you yourselves, who are infinitely richer than us, refuse to accept even one," the prime minister said, speaking to Italy's Corriere della Sera newspaper in an interview published Thursday.
"I would like more cooperation," al-Sarraj stressed, warning that Daesh (ISIS)* could seep into the ranks of would-be migrants and try to infiltrate Europe. "Our law enforcement agencies and intelligence services must work together if we want to avoid the worst," the prime minister said.
The GNA head also praised Rome's recent efforts on the Libyan issue, and called the international conference on Libyan peace in Palermo earlier this week a "real success," despite the fact that Marshal Khalifa Haftar, the commander of the Libyan National Army of the Tobruk-led government, which now controls the majority of Libya's territory, nearly boycotted the event.
Italy and France face tensions over the Libya issue. In September, Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini blamed former French President Nicolas Sarkozy for unleashing the war in Libya, and accused President Emmanuel Macron of adding fuel to the fire. Salvini, who also serves as Italy's interior minister, has taken a hardline stance, refusing to accept migrant boats arriving from Libya at Italian ports, and has promised to work with Libyan authorities to stop the migrant flow, including through the beefing up the Libyan coast guard.
*A terrorist group outlawed in Russia and many other countries.