· The Western route is confirmed as the principal channel to reach Europe ·
Immigrants continue to pour into the Mediterranean. More than a thousand have been rescued since last Friday alone, as fifty different ships carrying them sought to reach the Spanish coast. These are the figures announced by the Iberian press agency EFE. Last Friday marked the greatest number of immigrants landing on the Andalusian coast: a total of 450 persons were saved in a series of twenty different rescues. The Western route is thus confirmed as the primary channel by which African immigrants seek to reach Europe. Numbers indicate that there has been a decrease in the number of immigrants arriving in Sicilian territory, while the flow of arrivals via the so-called Balkan route remains high. In the last week, Turkish authorities stopped 6,801 immigrants who were trying to cross the border illegally into the European Union, or to enter into the country without legal documents. Among these, 740 were intercepted out at sea. The Ministry of the Interior of Ankara reports that during this same period, 105 presumed human traffickers were also arrested.
Since the contested agreement with Brussels in March, 2016, the number of immigrants and refugees who have tried to enter the European Union and, in particular, Greece, on a daily basis from Turkey has decreased significantly. Meanwhile, Libya has responded to the charges made against it by the non-governmental organization, Open Arms. Open Arms declared that the Libyan Coast Guard has done nothing to stop the traffickers and, in some cases, has even collaborated with them, leaving immigrants to die in the sea. “We deny and categorically reject these slanderous statements”, was declared in a government memo sent by a Libyan naval officer, posted on the Coast Guard’s Facebook page.
St. Peter’s Square
Feb. 18, 2019
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