UN Security Council to discuss Mediterranean migrants crisis

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By Alasdair Sandford  with AP, AFP
UN Security Council to discuss Mediterranean migrants crisis

The UN Security Council is to hold a special meeting next week to consider how to deal with the relentless wave of African migrants crossing the Mediterranean trying to reach Europe.

The European Union’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini will brief the UN’s 15-member body. The EU hopes it will endorse its plan to tackle the human traffickers via possible military action against their boats.

Reports say Security Council members Britain, France and Spain have been working with Italy on a draft resolution.

Video has emerged of one of the latest dramas, last weekend. It was filmed by a crew member of the cargo ship “Zeran” which rescued migrants from two boats.

West Africans are seen crying desperately for help from their crowded, deflating rubber dinghy as it fills with water. Survivors later said dozens had drowned after they fell into the sea.

At least five bodies were taken to the port of Catania. It’s estimated that 1,500 migrants have died since the start of the year – a massive increase.

On Tuesday Italy yet again asked the EU to share more of the burden. The Italian navy and coastguard saved almost 6,000 migrants in rescue operations at the weekend.

The EU has announced a tripling of funding for its Triton border protection operation. Now it is looking to the UN to give more international legitimacy to its efforts to deal with the influx, especially from Libya where traffickers have taken advantage of political chaos.