World

Italy requests EU plan for new migrant wave from Libya

Italy's government has written to the European Union asking it to prepare a plan of action to face a possible new wave of migrants escaping from the escalating armed conflict in Libya.

UN envoy to Libya and Italy's foreign minister met on Wednesday

Italian Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero, right, and UN special envoy for Libya, Ghassan Salame, attend a press conference after their meeting in Rome on Wednesday. The instability in the North African nation has raised great concern for Europe, the destination for waves of migrants fleeing poverty and wars across the Middle East and Africa. (Angelo Carconi/ANSA/Associated Press)

Italy's government has written to the European Union asking it to prepare a plan of action to address the risk of a new wave of migrants escaping from the armed conflict in Libya.

Italy's Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero spoke on Wednesday at a joint news conference in Rome after meeting with the United Nations envoy to Libya, Ghassan Salame.

Moavero didn't provide additional details on Italy's request.

Italy's anti-immigration Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has ordered that migrant rescue boats cannot enter Italian ports.

A ship of migrants is intercepted offshore near the town of Gohneima, east of the Libyan capital, Tripoli, on June 24, 2018. The migrants face grim conditions in Libyan camps. (Libyan Coast Guard via AP)

Salame downplayed Italy's fears that a huge number of African refugees could leave Libya trying to reach Europe.

"We know that about 700,000 migrants are in our country now, but not even a minority of them wants to cross the Mediterranean," Salame told journalists.

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