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Paolo Gentiloni, Italy’s prime minister, is due to meet Libyan prime minister Fayez el-Serraj on Thursday evening in Rome amid expectations that they will strike a deal to stem migrant flows.

Italy has been in talks with Libya for several weeks in the hope of reaching an agreement to help the government in Tripoli to crack down on people smuggling .

The exact details of the possible agreement are not clear . Last year, a record 181,000 migrants – mainly originating from sub-Saharan Africa — arrived in Italy from Libya .

The possible deal comes on the eve of Friday’s EU summit in Malta where migration will top the agenda.

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