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Migrants' Mediterranean Travails Are Backdrop for G-7 Talks in Sicily 

  • VOA News

FILE - A plastic raft overcrowded with migrants drifts in the central Mediterranean Sea, May 18, 2017. More than 2,000 migrants were rescued overnight Friday.

Maritime rescues of migrants adrift in the Mediterranean continued unabated on Saturday, with Spanish officials assisting more than 150 refugees in small boats and Tunisian security forces pulling more than 100 others to safety, including seven pregnant women and three children.

The latest tally of rescued African migrants seeking a better life in Europe came as Libyan and Italian officials said about 10,000 migrants had been rescued off the coast of Libya this week. The French news agency AFP quoted authorities as saying at least 54 people had drowned.

Migrants in need of assistance often are brought to Sicily, but that process was halted this week ahead of the Group of Seven summit. Leaders of the world's seven biggest industrialized nations met in the eastern Sicilian seaside town of Taormina.

Heads of state, including U.S. President Donald Trump, heard an impassioned plea from the host nation. Italy called on the G-7 nations to massively increase investment in large parts of Africa, to help make residents' lives more attractive and prosperous.

However, there were no reports from the summit of any specific progress on that issue.

Rome had hoped to persuade the industrialized nations to develop legal procedures for additional migration. Analysts say that effort was scrapped before the two-day summit opened, when the United States, Britain and Japan voiced opposition to new immigration initiatives in their respective countries.

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