Last updated: 24 January, 2012

Libya says it will not be Europe’s border guard

Libyan Interior Minister Fawzi Abdelali said Tuesday his country will not be the border guard of Europe, citing “enormous problems” over the influx of thousands of illegal immigrants.

“Libya needs a lot of means to control (immigration). Libya is not the border guard of Europe,” he told a news conference.

Abdelali called upon Europe and neighbouring countries to help deal with the flow of immigrants.

He specifically asked for help to rehabilitate 19 detention centres and a system of border surveillance.

The regime of slain dictator Moamer Kadhafi used immigration as a means to pressure the West.

A year ago, he called for five billion euros annually for the European Union to stop the trafficking.

For years, Libya has been a destination and a transit country to European shores for hundreds of thousands of African immigrants.