A political faction in Libya is threatening to send hundreds of thousands of migrants to Europe unless the European Union recognizes it as the country’s legitimate government, the Telegraph reports.
The National Salvation Government, affiliated with Libya’s General National Congress, assumed control of the capital Tripoli last year after battles against the House of Representatives government, which is recognized by the international community. The congress is the political arm of the Libya Dawn coalition, a group of moderate and Islamist militants that helped overthrow Muammar Gaddafi.
Officials with the congress say they are tired of being viewed as illegitimate by Europe while they prevent migrants from sailing to its shores, the Telegraph reports:
Jamal Zubia, the National Salvation Government’s foreign media spokesman, told The Telegraph that Libya was currently spending tens of millions of pounds a year stopping migrants from crossing the Mediterranean, through the use of detention centres and repatriation programs.
He said that if Europe continued to refuse to recognise the Congress’s authority, the Libyan government could reverse the policy.