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So Sad: European Seas Turning Into African Graves

October 14, 2013

Italy and Malta, the points of arrival for most of the migrants from North Africa, have asked for more funds from the European Union and called for the migrant emergency to be put on the agenda of the next European Council meeting on October 24-25.

“The fact is that as things stand, we are just building a cemetery within our Mediterranean Sea,” Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said in an interview with the BBC.

Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan backed calls for more action from Europe following a meeting with Muscat in Tripoli on Sunday, but the Maltese prime minister said no real progress would be made until order was restored along the African coast.

“To have a permanent solution or at least a better way of dealing with the issue of illegal emigration, there needs to be stability in Libya,” he said.

Italian and Maltese vessels recovered 34 bodies and picked up 206 survivors on Friday after their boat capsized.

But according to survivors’ estimates gathered by United Nations officials, the boat had been carrying as many as 350-450 people, meaning the real death toll could be over 200. “At this stage it’s impossible to say for certain,” Molinario said.

The incident came just over a week after more than 350 Eritreans and Somalis drowned off the island of Lampedusa.

On Sunday, Italian vessels rescued about 400 people from a struggling boat around 60 miles south of Lampedusa while another boat carrying around 100 was picked up by Maltese rescuers, an Italian coastguard official said.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the international community had to address the root causes of the crisis.

The deaths have set off a fierce political debate in Italy over tough rules intended to combat clandestine immigration which make it an offence to offer help to illegal migrant boats.

Letta said on Saturday he favored changing the law but he faces stiff opposition from center-right partners in his left-right coalition government who insist the law should stay.

Instability in North Africa and the Middle East has removed many controls which used to prevent boats setting out, and Europe has struggled to come up with a comprehensive response.

European Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malstrom has called this week for Europe’s frontier agency Frontex to be strengthened to be able to deploy search and rescue operations.
Source: CKN

Posted from WordPress for BlackBerry.

From → General

One Comment
  1. This is a serious indictment on the idiots who are ruling Africa, what! With all our natural and human resources?

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