News / Europe

Italy, Malta Say EU Must Press Libya to Stop Boat Migration

Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta (L) and Malta's Prime Minister Joseph Muscat take part in a news conference at Muscat's office at the Auberge de Castille in Valletta, Malta, Nov. 11, 2013.
Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta (L) and Malta's Prime Minister Joseph Muscat take part in a news conference at Muscat's office at the Auberge de Castille in Valletta, Malta, Nov. 11, 2013.
Reuters
— Italy on Monday called on the European Union to press Libya to stem the gangs smuggling migrants from Africa on overcrowded boats and prevent shipwrecks like the one that killed hundreds last month.
    
More than 360 people drowned off the coast of Sicily on Oct. 3. The mostly Eritrean migrants had sailed from Libya, where smugglers mistreated them and made them pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to be carried to Europe.
    
"There needs to be an EU initiative with Libya to try to manage differently patrols and border controls," Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta said after meeting Malta's Prime Minister Joseph Muscat in Valletta.
    
Letta's comments come three days after Sicilian investigators arrested a man for kidnapping, extortion and rape of some of the Eritreans who survived last month's shipwreck.
    
The horror stories told to Italian prosecutors by the migrants confirmed the worst fears of humanitarian groups about conditions in increasingly unstable Libya.
    
Two years after the NATO-backed overthrow of Moammar Gadhafi's regime, rival militias continue to battle for power and the prime minister was briefly taken hostage last month.
    
"We must send a strong message that we are dealing with human beings. This also means tackling criminal networks of people-smugglers," Muscat said.
    
Italy, Malta and Greece have borne much of the brunt of the EU's two-decade-long immigration crisis, and all have called for more EU-wide support.
    
In the absence of a coordinated EU response, Italy has deployed naval vessels, helicopters and unmanned drones to try to prevent further tragedies at sea. Letta said the mission had saved hundreds of lives in the past month and put pressure on smugglers, who he called "merchants of death".
    
Malta is preparing to send a military vessel to Libya to help patrol the coast and prevent boats carrying migrants from departing, Muscat said.
    
Letta said the EU's entire approach to the Mediterranean over the past two decades had been wrong, and that Italy would push for an overhaul in the 28-country bloc's policies in the region when it holds the rotating presidency next year.
    
"We need a new European policy toward Africa and the Middle East," Letta said.
    
Separately, the two leaders said Italy and Malta would probably reach an agreement on offshore oil and gas exploration early next year.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid