By Jamie Prentis.
Tunis, 1 June 2017:
Libyan coastguards cannot deal with heavily-armed people-traffickers in high-powered vessels unless they receive more support from Italy said their chief Colonel Massoud Abdelsamad.
“Our boats need spare parts and maintenance” said Abdelsamad adding that Italy was expected to send a team of engineers.
“We were promised that the group would come to Libya and we are now waiting for it so it can support us,” he told Italian news agency ANSA.
Abdelsamad said that he was in 24 hour contact with his Italian counterparts and that both countries’ coastguards had carried out joint operations.
”I would like to thank very much the Italian authorities,” he said, “and especially the Italian coastguard. We have a good cooperation between us.”
Italy has been a leading supporter of the Libyan coastguard and is giving ten lifeboats to help migrant rescues. Rome is also providing training, passing out its first group of Libyan cadets last February.
Presidency Council (PC) head Faiez Serraj has held regular talks with Italian government ministers on measures to combat human-trafficking.