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Sarraj Promises Merkel to Help Ease Migrant Suffering

Sarraj Promises Merkel to Help Ease Migrant Suffering

Friday, 8 December, 2017 - 07:00
Fayez al-Sarraj (R) and Angela Merkel arrive for a joint press conference at the Chancellery in Berlin on December 7, 2017. Maurizio Gambarini / dpa / AFP

The head of Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA), Fayez al-Sarraj, vowed during a visit to Berlin on Thursday to take action to ease the suffering of tens of thousands of migrants stranded in his country, even though his cabinet has partial control over Libya, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said.

Speaking after talks with Merkel, Sarraj said the numbers of migrants are "staggering -- we are talking about 500,000 migrants outside holding centers and 20,000 in the 42 centers run by the Interior Ministry."

"We are open to working with all regional and international organizations to end the suffering of the migrants and to help them return to their countries," Agence France Presse quoted Sarraj as saying.

He made his pledge although a large part of Libya falls outside Sarraj’s control.

Merkel urged Sarraj to give "better access" to international organizations to the holding camps that are based in territories falling under the GNA’s control, AFP said.

Sarraj also said a commission of inquiry will soon deliver findings on whether migrants being sold into slavery are substantiated.

Meanwhile, the African Union has upped its goal to repatriate stranded migrants from Libya, saying in a statement that it aims to bring 20,000 Africans home in the next six weeks.

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