TRIPOLI, Mohamed Sayala, the foreign minister of Libya's United Nations-backed government, has called for the speedy repatriation of illegal immigrants from Libya to their countries of origin.

Sayala made the call here Thursday during a meeting with William Swing, the Director-General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), in which they discussed efforts against illegal immigration, Libyan TV reported.

"We must expedite the repatriation of migrants to their countries and reduce the duration of their stay in shelters, in co-ordination with the Libyan authorities," Sayala told a joint media conference with Swing.

"The Director-General of IOM praised the work of the local authorities in rescuing and sheltering the migrants and facilitating their return," the Libyan minister said.

The Libyan coast guard has rescued thousands of migrants off the Libyan coast since the beginning of 2018.

"We have made significant progress in addressing the impact of migration on Libya and the countries affected by it," Swing said, stressing IOM's co-operation with the European Union (EU) to provide employment opportunities for migrants returning to their countries of origin to discourage them from becoming illegal migrants again.

Following the 2011 uprising which toppled former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's regime, insecurity and chaos in Libya has turned it into a departure point for illegal immigrants hoping to cross the Mediterranean to Europe.

According to the IOM, nearly 9,000 illegal immigrants were voluntarily repatriated in the first half of 2018 from Libya.

Source: Nam News Network