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Italy: Development plan for Africa essential to halt migration

Italy: Development plan for Africa essential to halt migration
14 settembre 2023 | 14.22
LETTURA: 2 minuti

Surging migration in the Mediterranean is part of an "enormous" problem that can only be solved with "a real plan for Africa's development", according to Italy's foreign minister Antonio Tajani.

"We (Italy) are operating in two directions," Tajani told Corriere della Sera newspaper in an interview on Thursday.

""We're taking robust action against human traffickers by seizing their vessels and when possible repatriating illegal migrants; and we are increasing legal immigration channels," Tajani told the daily.

Migrants applying for asylum need to be "fairly" relocated to from Italy and other front line states to elsewhere in the European Union for the bloc to "absorb the impact" of the current influx, Tajani argued.

"But Europe alone cannot manage such an enormous problem, which affects virtually the whole of Africa and also the Balkans," said Tajani.

"This is why we worked on a major international conference aimed at kicking off a real stabilisation process in the Sahel," Tajani said, referring to a high-level meeting of Mediterranean and Middle East countries held in Rome on 23 July.

Italy's foreign, defence and interior ministries "are doing everything that is humanly possible" to tackle the migration emergency, but "a major international mobilisation" is needed to counter "dramatic instability" in sub-Saharan Africa, Tajani claimed.

"There a migratory drive towards the north of the African continent, especially Tunisia, to cross to Italy and then continue on to other countries. But the burden of migrant arrivals is falling entirely on our shoulders and the costs are enormous," Tajani said.

Tajani recently summoned the ambassadors of Guinea and Cote d'Ivoire - the two countries from which the biggest numbers of migrants now reach Italy's shores - urging their governments to do more to halt departures and accept returnees, he said.

"The goal is to prevent these hungry and desperate people arriving in Tunisia and boarding boats to Italy," said Tajani.

At the UN General Assembly in New York next week, EU foreign ministers will look at how to activate the billion euro partnership deal which the bloc signed with Tunisia in July to fight human smugglers and help its crisis-hit economy, Tajani noted.

"We will discuss how European institutions must show unity and cooperate to immediately implement the plan for Tunisia," Tajani stated.

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