Thursday, 3 August 2017

Libya strongman Khalifa Haftar warns Italy over ships

The head of the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) has vowed to repel any Italian ships approaching Libya's waters without permission.

On Wednesday, Italy's parliament approved a plan to send naval boats to Libya to stop migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea.

Italy is the main recipient of migrants making the dangerous trip from Libya.

Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar has now ordered naval bases in four Libyan cities to block Italian ships.

While the LNA said it would repel "any naval vessel that enters national waters without permission from the army", it did not specify whether it would be ready to use force.
Libya is torn in two between the eastern-based government, which supports Field Marshall Haftar, and the UN-backed government based in Tripoli, which supports the deal.

Libya's eastern-based government said Italy wanted to "export the illegal immigration crisis from its territory to Libya's", adding that the return of tens of thousands of migrants would have a "dangerous impact" on Libya's security, economy and society.

It said the actions of Italian ships in Libyan waters were "a violation of sovereignty".

BBC    News.