New Libya starts mimicking Gaddafi's ways

Italian foreign minister announces deal with Libyan rebels to repatriate migrants at sea.

Rome will host a meeting today with 200-300 people from Libyan society, including all tribal chiefs. "At the contact group meeting on Libya in Rome we had already suggested the idea of a great political reconciliation assembly which would include all the tribal representatives, from all regions and from all social circles," foreign minister Franco Frattini said.

Frattini also said Rome is set to sign an agreement on Friday with the Libyan rebel National Transitional Council on 'cooperation to prevent and counter illegal immigrants, including the problems with repatriation.'

The European Union's border agency said Tuesday that the Italian island of Lampedusa has replaced the Greek-Turkish border as Europe's gateway for illegal immigrants as many flee violence in North Africa.

The Mediterranean island has seen thousands of arrivals of migrants and refugees by boat mainly from Tunisia and Libya this year, often in dangerous conditions that have cost lives at sea.

"Gaddafi's rule is coming to an end," said Frattini, whose air bases are playing a pivotal role in the NATO-led air campaign against Gaddafi. "Our ultimate goal is a truly democratic Libya."

Italy is Libya's former colonial ruler and is playing a pivotal role in the NATO-led air campaign against Gaddafi's forces by supplying bases for aircraft.

But Libya’s rebel government may be promising the West some of the old Gaddafi ways. Frattini has announced that he will be signing an agreement with Benghazi’s transitional national council that includes the “prevention and contrasting of irregular immigration fluxes including the problem of repatriation.”

The comments were made to state television Rai 1’s Tg1.

The news was met with surprise by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in Italy. Spokesperson Laura Boldrini said the UNCHR was opposed to any action of expulsion at sea of migrants headed for the Italian coast.

She also denied UNHCR involvement in the migration agreement, as alleged by Frattini who claimed that the involvement of the UN’s refugee agency was “the distinguishing mark from previous Gaddafi agreements.”

A previous agreement between Italy and Col. Muammar Gaddafi saw Libyan and Italian armies repatriating migrants at sea, severely criticised by UNHCR and Amnesty International for breaching the international principle of non-refoulement and migrants’ right to request asylum. Frattini said the Libyan rebels were committing themselves to “repatriate clandestine immigrants”

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I am very concerned about people who thinks that Malta is able to host all the immigrants crossing to Europe. It's so silly to read such comments against this kind of deal which Frattini is working on. Our EU partners left us alone on this issue cause it has nothing to do with europe's economy,so definately NO One is going to complain cause No cares about giving a better life to these people. I think we have to think about the Reality no the theory in such situation.
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John, what really sucks is the part "you-know-that-i-am-right". What would you think if i said the very same to you. Most probably that i am arrogant...assuming to know whats up your mind and convinced that me, only me is right.
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Monique=James Debono. Grow up monique. It's very unbecoming. My argument is accurate like it can be. You know I am right. Time for a checkup. Yes, it was a stupid comment.
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I apologize, John. Of course your comment is not the only stupid argument on the page. It is stuffed with stupid arguments of your likes.
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Mr John Azzopardi, you hurl insults at James Debono ? The only stupid argument i found on this page is your comment.
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Mr. James Debono, your argument does not make sense. You said "In my case i do not see any reason to like them more or less than the Maltese" What an ignorant man you are. Really stupid argument. You obviously have no idea what nations are built on. I suggest you take a hike and go live somewhere where people think like you. We maltese have came a long way to build what we have. I am for small number of migrants, but not to the extent where we receive thousands as we have in the past 10 years. I am not paying my taxes to support migrants. You really need to get some real education. If Maltese had to think like you , we will be in trouble. Of course, the vast majority of maltese and gozitans - say 95%, do not think like you. And that is a fact.
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Responsibility sharing will never occur, at least not in the significant numbers that Malta need while proper integration policies are nearly impossible in a small overpopulated country with no natural resources and a tiny labor market that doesn't really need more unskilled labor. The only two solutions that I can see are either getting out of the Dublin 2 treaty which had turned us into a big detention center or else a repatriation deal similar to the one the Italian had/have with Libya. In the first case it will the need a government who actually don't see the EU as some sort of golden calf that should be adored under any circumstances. In the latter case I hope that Europe will give Northern Africa the resources it needs to give a better future to these immigrants.
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Peter Cassar
It is not a matter of whether you like Africans or not...In my case i do not see any reason to like them more or less than the Maltese... immigration is a reality which should be governed by responsibility sharing, proper integration policies and a clear commitment for human rights. But like it or not some are here to stay and to become Maltese as much as everyone else.
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James Debono if you like the African illegal immigrants you are free to go to Africa but they shall never be allowed to settle in Malta whether you like it or not.
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James Debono when is it a basic right to violate the laws of another country, enter the country illegally without any papers on false pretenses and make a mockery of the Refugee Convention? Are you saying that Malta was breaching illegal immigrants rights when it did not accept refugees except from Europe? When are you going to come to your senses and accept that we must not and cannot accept illegal immigrants? Who knows who they really are? They are only economic migrants James Debono and we don't even have enough work for our own people let alone for illegal immigrants. Charity begins at home.
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Ah btw if you want to meet me in person, just ask. I'll be more then obliged to discuss things up in front of a cup of coffee. BTW lets make it clear, Im not comparing you with NL. Far from it.
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@ James Debono Actually your line of thought reminded me of a very heated argument with another guy who suggested to me pretty much the same thing you said. You may have heard of him.....Norman Lowell. Anyway do not worry no love was lost about what you said. As I said before I am used to such words. My point remains pretty much the same. Europe cannot keep on taking immigrants forever. The Multiculturalism utopia had failed badly and hasn't been helped by recession, globalization (which drove labor intensive jobs to Asia) and unreasonable treaties (such as the Dublin 2) which are meant to defend the EU big guys from this immigration flow. Europe is at crossroads. It can either change the situation or else it can stick to this unbearable situation which is only creating misery to both locals and immigrants alike fueling xenophobia, hatred and finally war. I believe that Africa should be helped to solve the African problems herself which makes sense considering its natural resources, its space and its potential which far exceed Europe's. Helping countries like Libya to regain freedom does not make really sense unless we're ready to have faith in them and this is the first sign of trust. If we don't believe that the Libyans will not treat the immigrants well then NATO should pack its things and leave Libya since its only contributing to replace a regime with another regime. I agree with you that illegal traffickers should be tackled. On the other hand one will never be fully able to damage this business unless we stop accepting the 'customers' of such illegal business with open arms and a smile on our face.
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If Italy prevails on the new Libya to stop the exodus of sub Saharan illegal immigrants by boat, it will do a great favour to Malta. At least we will not be lumped with those who lose their way or claim to be in distress. A new push back policy will save Malta. Never mind what UNHCR, Amnesty International and other do-gooders say.
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Peter Cassar
@muscatd I was simply being ironic with anonymous entities (called haha and CE) who suggested that "some people aren't happy unless the entire Africa comes to Europe" which is not the case or that Malta should send all migrants back. What would help the situation and reduce the number of migrants is a western policy which makes human rights its cornerstone. I also agree with most of what aleo2 said about processing applications in Libya to avoid asylum seekers risking their life crossing the med. That is why Italy should be insisting with the legitimate libyan government in benghazi to immediately ratify international conventions protecting refugees and the geneva convention. That said and even if such a system is in place in Libya it is illegal to push back boats back to Libya and to deny potential asylum seekers the right to have their application processed. What i expect is that the new government would clamp down on illegal traffickers and not collude with them to blackmail the rest of europe.
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I think the Maltese goverment would do well and see who is coming and going to Malta. I bet you that a number of those illegal migrants committed crimes and they are not paying a price for it. Also, let's not turn malta into a camp for illegal migrants or refugees. Not sure if any of you have been following the BBC this week, but it spoke of how Lampedusa and the Island of Djerba, Tunisia have turned into a haven for illegal migrants and refugees and the tourist have stopped going to those two places. It is real said. If people think that this cannot happen in Malta, you are only dreaming. If we get the large numbers of refugees or illegal migrants as some of these places are, we can kiss tourism good bye. There are many more beautiful and peaceful places that one can visit.
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Jeff Cassar
Thank you new libya! bye bye multiculturalism and the porblems you bring with policitcal correctness and the creation of new class tensions
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yes...that would be great especially if they displace people like CE and haha who would surely be taken care off in mogadishu- James Debono Are you really in favour of ethnic cleansing and the elimination of people who do not share your beliefs ? So you want the people of Mogadishu to come here and displace us all? Why? Don't for a second think that if they displace me they won't displace you too. Learn the lesson from the American Indians and the Serbs of Kosovo or you will relive it soon enough. Remember that the Somalis got in this mess because they started a war of aggression in Ethiopia and you want them here creating ethnic strife.
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To me either you work in the interest of the Maltese who elected you to power, or move aside. It's not the EU who elected you, but the maltese and gozitan citizens of Malta. So Mr. Gonzi, Karm Mifsud Bonnici and the rest of the MP, you will do well to listen to your citizens.
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Well, who said the Italians are not looking after their own interest. Everyone does look after their own security and interest. Only little Malta, under the rule of Gonzi and Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici will allow one and all to land in Malta if you let them. THe national interest should always come first. Let's hope the PN does not make the same mistake as they did in the divorce issue. And same with Labour. We maltese in our vast majority reject our country being invaded by illegal migrants which we cannot send anywhere - whethr it's back home or the European continent. We all all the rights to control the flow of migrants. I would have hoped that Gonzi and Karm Mifsud Bonnici would have learned one or two things from being so hardheaded as they were on the divorce issue.
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One is missing a point I was wondering about. What is NATO doing in LIBYA. If I am not mistaken a ship cleared and checked in Malta (not only one but all ships) were stopped by NATO from entering Libya. What is NATO doing in LIBYA. If I am not mistaken many of hte immigrants come by sea. How is it that these boats are not seen by NATO like the ships entering LIBYA.!!!???
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I agree with you Alex. Libya has so much to offer to the immigrants. It is a rich country, with a small population, which will soon need a big workforce. Libyan friends of mine living in Benghazi tell me that its relatively safe there too. If the Libyan government does deliver what it promises then there will be no need for immigrants to risk their lives on those cursed death traps. I think that at this stage Europe has to have faith in the new Libyan government and hope for the best. It wouldn't be a bad idea if the EU use its leverage to convince Libya to sign the Geneva convention too.
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If this deal works well then lets hope that the EU will now help Libya and the entire Africa to develop its economy and give immigrants a better future. I also hope that Malta does an extra effort to integrate the immigrants currently residing into Malta or help them go into those countries they wish to go to. We can do that with the current numbers.
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I will refrain from using the same tone of arrogance as you did Mr Debono. After all I am but a simple man not some big shot who enlighten the world with his writing or speech. What I do believe is this. If Benghazi is truly a bastion of human rights then there is nothing wrong in sending the immigrants there. If not, then this war is meaningless since its only going to replace one regime with another. As I said, logistically we can't accept the entire Africa into Southern Europe whether you/we want it or not.
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duncan abela
Keeping the would be illegal immigrants in Libya until they are properly assessed for refugee status within Libya is the proper way of going about the problem. What we do not want is perpetuation of the situation of masses of African would be economic migrants leaving their countries for an imagined eldorado in europe. The problem in Libya was the extreme poor treatment they were receiving from the previous Tripoli regime. Those who are leaving the Libyan shores in flimsy unseaworthy and overcrowded crafts are simply putting their live at risk and causing great problems to countries of first call such as Malta and Sicily. Let us hope the new Benghazi regime will treat them more humanely, utilising where possible their labour with decent working conditions in the massive task of rebuilding the Libyan infrastructure and sending back those who do not qualify as needed workers or refugees back to their own countries.. Europe can certainly now exert much more pressure for proper decent conditions for these migrating hordes than it could with the previous regime. As regards the UNHCR the less said the better.
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Peter Cassar
yes...that would be great especially if they displace people like CE and haha who would surely be taken care off in mogadishu
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Continued I guess some people aren't happy unless the entire Africa comes to Europe. That will never happen.
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Why are you complaining? Isn't the new Libyan government the second coming of the Christ in terms of human rights? The immigrants will be well taken care off in the Benghazi part of Libya.
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Peter Cassar
a petition which violates the very basics of human rights...no wonder CNI is led by people who adore war criminal Gaddafi
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Good Job. Now let's hope that Gonzi does the same. The illegal immigrants are unwanted and unwelcome in MAlta as has been shown so many times by the people. While at it, when are the Party Whips in Parliament going to receive the CNI petition signed by some 30,000 Maltese citizens in a few days calling for the Government to stop illegal immigration to Malta? http://www.cnimalta.org/Petizzjoni%20Popolari.pdf http://www.cnimalta.org/il.html
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Peter Cassar
Berlusconi's Italy still pretending that libya does iits dirty work in policing borders...neo colonialism at its best...so instead of pressuring the rebels to sign the geneva convention and human rights in general, Italy is using its leverage with the new government to continue gaddafi's old ways....after all it is the same government which kissed the hand of war criminal gaddafi and whose support for the UN resolution is openly questioned by the far right Lega Nord....i suspect that frattini's words are meant to appease the lega's base at a moment when its support for the government is in question.