Malta's leader arrives in Libya following tragedy

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FILE - In this Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013 file photo, a body is lowered down from a Maltese Navy ship at the Valletta harbor, Malta after a Maltese ship brought 143 survivors from a capsized smugglers' boat after 34 people drowned when the boat capsized. Most of the migrants in the latest tragedy were fleeing civil war in Syria. A sharp rise in the number of Syrians attempting the perilous sea voyage over the past three months highlights the crushing life-and-death decisions facing many who fled to Egypt to escape Syria’s armed conflict, according to rights group Amnesty International.. (AP Photo/Lino Arrigo Azzopardi, File)

VALLETTA, Malta (AP) — Malta's prime minister has arrived in Libya to discuss the issue of migrants using this north African state as a staging ground for their sea journeys toward European shores.

Joseph Muscat's unannounced visit in Tripoli comes after a string of tragedies in the Mediterranean, where in recent weeks hundreds of migrants have drowned following shipwrecks.

Muscat's office said Sunday he will meet with Libya's prime minister, Ali Zidan.

The latest tragedy occurred Friday south of the Italian island of Lampedusa, in waters under Malta's search and rescue responsibility. Of the 202 survivors, mostly Syrians fleeing civil war, 146 have been transported to Malta.

One survivor, a Syrian man who declined to be identified, told reporters in Malta that their boat was fired on as they left Libya.