Maghreb Governments Reject EU-Proposed Migrant Centres

Illegal migrants from Africa, attempting to reach Europe, walk towards a detention center off the coastal town of Guarabouli, 60 kilometres (36 miles) east of the capital, on July 8, 2017. Thirty-five migrants, including seven children, were feared drowned after their inflatable craft sank off the Libyan coast, the coastguard …

All countries of the North African region have rejected a proposal from the European Union to build migrant reception facilities in their countries.

In June, European Union member states agreed to a proposal that would see the migrant reception centres built within the Maghreb to stem the flow of migrants coming across the Mediterranean.

According to Libyan Foreign Minister Mohamad al-Taher Siala, “Libya and its neighbours are opposed to the European project to create landing platforms for migrants on their territory to prevent them from arriving directly in the EU.”

“All countries in North Africa reject this proposal – Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, and Libya as well,” Mr al-Taher Siala added.

Al-Taher Siala claimed that the Libyans have around 30,000 migrants currently in custody but said there are upward of another 750,000 migrants scattered across Libya and that the government is focused on deporting illegals back to their home countries, Franceinfo reports.

“If the EU wants to help us, it can provide us with logistical support: all-terrain vehicles, drones, helicopters, and maybe some light weapons,” he said.

Morocco has expressed a similar opinion with authorities claiming this week that they would be expelling all sub-Saharan Africans who took part in the recent storming of the Spanish enclave of Melilla in which one migrant died.

Italian populist Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has been at the forefront of the migration issue in the Mediterranean since coming to power earlier this year and visited with the Tunisian government to promote cooperation after closing Italian ports to migrant rescue NGOs.

Salvini commented on the rejection by the North African states, suggesting that the EU should look toward building reception centres in countries like Niger, Sudan, and Mali instead.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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