Italy has signed an agreement with the Benghazi-based Libyan National Council aimed at stemming the flow of migrants to Italy.

The deal, reached on Friday, is similar to the agreement which had previously existed with the Gaddafi government and provides for the immediate repatriation of migrants rescued at sea - known as push back.

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees has slammed the accord, arguing that people seeking asylum won't have proper protection.

The Italian foreign ministry said the agreement provides for an exchange of information on groups organising human trafficking, including the falsification of documents. 

Italy has received some 30,000 migrants since the upheaval in Italy started. Malta received another 1,500. 

Italy has claimed that the Gaddafi regime is forcing migrants to make the  journey across the Mediterranean as retaliation against Europe for NATO bombing.

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