‘Situation in Africa is not explosive, it has already exploded,’ says foreign minister
Facing immense pressure from increasing migrant arrivals from Africa, Italy sought UN intervention to resolve the problem, local media reported on Friday.
“We will talk about the problem, which is caused by the situation in Africa, during the UN General Assembly which will take place next week in New York,” said Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani on the sidelines of the country’s major industrialist confederation Confindustria’s annual meeting in Rome, according to state-run ANSA news agency.
Stressing that the problem shouldn’t be underestimated, he added: “The situation in Africa is not explosive, it has already exploded.”
Tajani maintained that immediate and extensive measures are needed to deal with the growing problem of irregular migration.
“We need to move forward with repatriations of people who do not have the right to remain in Europe,” he said.
“Europe cannot pretend that nothing is happening, and I am convinced that France will understand our problems,” Tajani remarked, adding that he will visit Paris and Berlin as soon as he returns from New York.
Meanwhile, UNHCR said in a statement that the situation on the island of Lampedusa is “critical” following the arrival by sea of unprecedented numbers of migrants and refugees in recent days and insisted that ensuring “adequate assistance” for the most vulnerable must be “a priority.”
It also called for the establishment of an agreed regional mechanism for landing and redistribution procedures for migrants arriving by sea in Italy across the EU.
According to the Interior Ministry, nearly 126,000 migrants reached Italy by sea this year as of Thursday, nearly double the number from the same time last year.
The record flux of migrants is adding pressure on the right-wing government headed by Premier Giorgia Meloni, who had pledged a crackdown on illegal migration during the electoral campaign that led to her election last September.
On Thursday, Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini called the surge in migrants’ arrivals witnessed in the past few days an “act of war,” adding that the government was ready to go “any possible way” to stop the flow.
“The diplomatic path is essential to follow, but the entire government is working day and night and I do not rule out any kind of intervention,” he said.