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Italy, Malta fired up over immigrants

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Italy, Malta fired up over immigrants


Italy has raised its voice against Malta, suspecting the fellow Mediterranean EU member state of not acting responsibly to intercept immigrants at sea. The latest incident is the discovery by police in Italian waters of 57 Eritreans wearing Maltese life vests and attempting to reach Italy.

Some European Union states complain the others are not helping enough in dealing with irregular immigrants. The flow has eased somewhat in places, after Libya recently began taking back those leaving its shores who were caught by the Italians. Last week the Italians rescued five Eritreans who said dozens of others had died on the crossing. Maltese life vest were found in that case too. Malta has said its authorities had found the five earlier, but that the immigrants only wanted to continue to Italy, and were permitted to do so. Magistrates in the Sicilian province of Agrigento are investigating whether any law on providing assistance was broken by Italian or Maltese planes or ships. The European Commission is under pressure to present new proposals on sharing the strain of dealing with irregular immigration on September 2, according to an Italian source, after calls from Italy, Malta and Greece.

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