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Top Italian official in Cairo for talks on illegal migration

14 novembre 2016 | 12.44
LETTURA: 2 minuti

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Mediterranean off Egypt's north coast, drowning 42 people and prompting a search operation that rescued 163 passengers, officials said. - Photo: AFP

A top Italian interior ministry official was in Cairo on Monday for two days of talks with Egyptian counterparts to discuss ways of combatting illegal migration in the southern Mediterranean.

The ministry's central immigration directorate chief Giovanni Pinto's visit is focussed on "an exchange of security information and experience between Egypt and Italy," an Egyptian source told Adnkronos International (AKI).

Egyptian authorities arrested four suspected people traffickers over a shipwreck off the port of Rosetta in late September in which at least 300 migrants drowned including Syrians, Egyptians and people from various African countries. The ship was believed to be carrying at least 450 people.

The tragedy came after the chief of the European Union's border agency Frontex Fabrice Leggeri said in June that the crossing from Egypt to Italy, which often takes more than 10 days, was becoming increasingly popular.

Libya and Egypt became the main departure points for migrants and refugees seeking to reach Europe after Balkan countries closed the popular overland route in March and the EU agreed a deal with Turkey to halt departures.

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