PARIS/GENEVA, DECEMBER 20 – “The process of reunification of Libya must accomplished as soon as possible. Libyan stabilization is the key to tackle and solve the migration crisis”, the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Angelino Alfano, said today in Paris, on the first stop of a trip which brought him also in London, before moving tomorrow to Berlin, Madrid and finally Pristina.
In Paris Alfano met his French colleague Jean-Marc Ayrault at the Quai d’Orsay. A brief visit to Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve was planned for the afternoon. On his stop in London, Alfano hold bilateral talks with the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, followed by a short visit to British Prime Minister Theresa May.
Migrations were part of the agenda. On Monday IOM reported that 358,156 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2016 through 19 December, arriving mostly in Greece and Italy. According to Italy’s Ministry of Interior, 179,523 migrants arrived by sea this year through December 19, almost 20 percent more than in 2015. Another 700 migrants have been rescued in the Mediterranean and brought to Italy since IOM last report on December 15. The Italian Coast Guard gave similar figures: among the 179,624 migrants, over 28,000 were children, for the most part (24,929) unaccompanied. On Tuesday UNICEF Italia announced a new plan to assist 6,000 of those children arriving in Italy alone.
Meanwhile some 172,999 migrants and refugees have arrived by sea in Greece during 2016, far fewer than in 2015. IOM Athens reports 27 arrivals on the island of Leros on 16 December. On December 17 one migrant arrived by sea on Lesvos, followed by 87 more on 18 December.
With just 12 days remaining in 2016, IOM reported 4,901 migrants and refugees dead or missing, presumed drowned, in the Mediterranean. This compares with 3,777 for all of last year. (@OnuItalia)