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EU limits sale of inflatable boats to Libya to try tackle migrant smuggling

Ministers also agreed to extend a border aid mission in Libya

The European Union will allow members to restrict sales of inflatable boats and outboard motors to Libya in an effort to stop dangerous migrant smuggling across the Mediterranean.

On an initiative by Malta, EU foreign ministers have agreed to allow member countries to ban such exports or supply "where there are reasonable grounds to believe that they will be used by people smugglers and human traffickers".

A statement said the measure will also apply to boats and motors transiting through the EU, but not to fishermen or others with legitimate need for them.

The foreign ministers also agreed to extend a border aid mission in Libya through to the end of 2018 that helps Libyan security forces, notably in the lawless south.

Foreign Minister Carmelo Abela attended on Malta's behalf.

Migrant crossings from Libya to Italy on unsafe boats have climbed in recent weeks.

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