Italy has reached an agreement with 60 Libyan tribes to combat illegal migration following 72 hours of secret talks in Rome. Libya’s southwestern border is dominated by the Tuaregs while the Toubous are predominantly based in the southeast. The Arab Awlad Suleiman tribe is also part of the deal.
Details of the 12-point agreement have not been revealed but the Corriere della Sera newspaper reported that it is aimed at battling “an economy based on illicit drugs, which causes hundreds of deaths in the Mediterranean, thousands of desperate people looking for a better life, a populist push (in Europe) and a jihadist threat in the desert.”
The tribes in the south are expected to limit the influx of illegal migrants passing through Libya for Europe.
Italy’s Interior Minister Marco Minniti said a Libyan border patrol will be monitoring the 5,000 kilometer long southern Libyan border as he remains confident that “securing Libya’s southern border means securing Europe’s southern border.” It is unclear when the operations will begin.
Cooperation between the tribes could be difficult because they are rivals and the smuggling of people, goods, drugs and weapons have become a lucrative activity in the area since the fall of the Gadhafi regime.
Analysts pointed out that the agreement with the tribal leaders signals the weakness of the internationally recognized UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) to impose its authority even though it had a representative present at the talks.
Last month, Interior Ministers from several EU and North African countries reached a deal with the GNA to stem the flow of migrants and human smuggling, which included pledges of money, coastguard training and equipment for Libya.
Illegal migrants fleeing their countries to Europe have often experienced challenging situations on their route and their expectations are usually shattered upon their arrival on the European shore.