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Hollande Calls for More EU Rescue Efforts After Migrant Tragedy

French President Francois Hollande gestures as he takes part in a live television program at Canal+ headquarters in Paris, April 19, 2015.

French President Francois Hollande called on Sunday for a meeting of EU ministers to step up rescue efforts for migrants attempting to cross the
Mediterranean, after as many as 700 were feared drowned off the
Libyan coast overnight.

"If confirmed this would be the worst disaster of recent years in the Mediterranean," Hollande said on Canal+ television.

Some 24 bodies have so far been recovered after a fishing
boat packed with migrants capsized south of the Italian island
of Lampedusa.

Rescue and disaster prevention efforts will need "more
boats, more over flights and a much more intense battle against
people-trafficking," Hollande said.

Foreign and interior ministers should "meet very soon" to
discuss an increased response, Hollande said, adding that he had
telephoned Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi in the wake of
the tragedy.