23:38 GMT20 January 2021
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    Italy notes Russia's desire to cooperate in resolving the Libyan crisis and the issue of illegal migration from North Africa, Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano said Monday.

    ROME (Sputnik) — On Friday, Alfano and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had a phone conversation, during which they discussed Libyan and Ukrainian crises and agreed to meet on the sidelines of the G20 ministerial summit on February 16-17 in Germany.

    "I felt the desire for cooperation. Everyone understands that Libya has a strategic significance for us in terms of migration and for others in terms of security, which cannot be underestimated," Alfano said in an interview with the La Stampa newspaper.

    Libya has been in the state of turmoil since 2011 that resulted in an outflow of refugees from the country. The lack of control triggered huge waves of migrants who flee to Europe not only from Libya, but also from such countries as Mali and Niger, using Libya as a main gateway.

    In 2016, Italy saw record 181,000 migrant arrivals, with over 5,000 having died at the sea in attempts to reach Europe from the North African coast.

    On February 3, Italy and Libya signed a memorandum of understanding stipulating fight against illegal human trafficking and strengthening border control.


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    Angelino Alfano, Italy, Russia, Libya
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