Europe cannot halt the deadly traffic of African migrants across the Mediterranean unless it ends a boycott of forces that have seized power in the Libyan capital and helps authorities there cope, the de facto government in Tripoli said.
Chaos and civil war since NATO warplanes helped topple dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 have turned the North African country into the launching point for human traffickers smuggling tens of thousands of people across the Mediterranean.
Libya's rulers have rounded up thousands of Europe-bound African migrants in makeshift detention centres. But officials say they have no room to hold the migrants, no way of fighting smugglers and no hope of guarding vast desert frontiers to prevent thousands more people trying to reach the sea.
"We tell you: come and talk and cooperate with us, the national salvation government," Mohamed al-Ghirani, foreign
minister in the government based in the capital Tripoli, told Reuters in his office overlooking the Mediterranean.
"If Europe doesn't cooperate, then after (some) years Europe will be completely black. Europe will change from a white Europe to an African Europe," he said.
The lack of any unified authority in Libya has prevented virtually all international cooperation to respond to the migration crisis. An EU team helping to train and advise Libyan border guards evacuated the country.
Nearly all European countries have withdrawn their embassies from Tripoli and refuse to recognise Ghirani's government, which took control of the capital in heavy fighting last year. Instead, they recognise a rump government now based in the east.
After 800 migrants drowned in the shipwreck of a fishing boat last month, European leaders agreed at an emergency summit to strengthen naval patrols off the Libyan coast to fight the smugglers.
But Ghirani said such efforts were pointless unless Europe began cooperating with his government's forces on the ground.
"Now we cannot do anything. The state is weak," he said. "We need logistics, intelligence, aircraft."
نستخدم ملفات الكوكيز لنسهل عليك استخدام مواقعنا الإلكترونية ونكيف المحتوى والإعلانات وفقا لمتطلباتك واحتياجاتك الخاصة، لتوفير ميزات وسائل التواصل الاجتماعية ولتحليل حركة المرور لدينا...اعرف أكثر