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Italy offers aid to stem Tunisian immigration

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Italy offers aid to stem Tunisian immigration

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Streams of North African immigrants are continuing to head towards the Italian island of Lampedusa.

More than 250 of them arrived on Friday – taking the total to 13,500 over the past three weeks. Now the Italian government is hoping to reduce the numbers, by directly assisting Tunisia.

Italian Foreign Minister, Franco Frattini, said:

“The Italian Ministry of Interior is ready to help by providing the government of Tunisia with materials, cars and equipment.”

Italy will supply Tunisia with 80 million euros worth of aid, and is urging other European countries to take in some of the immigrants.

Resources on Lampedusa have been overwhelmed. Almost 15,000 people have landed on the island since January – most, but not all of them, from Tunisia. In a naval operation on Friday, 800 people were moved to other areas in the country.