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Southern EU leaders criticize migrant rescue ships

The Address | Benghazi – Libya

Leaders southern EU states tried to develop a common political and economic stance ahead of an EU summit. Migration was one issue topping the agenda with a call for rescue ships to give way to the Libyan coast guard.

Southern European leaders called Friday for NGO migrant rescue ships in the Mediterranean Sea to follow international law and not to obstruct the Libyan coast guard.

The leaders of Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal, and Spain also said in a joint declaration at a summit in Valletta that “efforts to break the smugglers’ business model need to be further enhanced, with the aim to also prevent tragic loss of life.”

Italy and Malta have taken a strict line against humanitarian vessels rescuing migrants, arguing that they help human traffickers and entice migrants to make the dangerous sea journey from North Africa to Europe. NGOs maintain that their rescue vessels do not lead more people to make the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean.

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