Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has said that “I will not allow Italy to become Europe’s refugee camp” in New York, where she is taking part in the United Nations General Assembly.
The premier has said that a surge in migrant-boat arrivals to the island of Lampedusa has put Italy under “unsustainable pressure”.
In New York she dismissed criticism of the Memorandum of Understanding that the EU has signed with Tunisia for cooperation on stopping human traffickers using its coasts to launch migrant-boat departures.
Meloni was instrumental in bringing about the agreement.
“It’s important the the memorandum with Tunisia is taken forward,” she said.”It is a model to use with other nations too”.
The premier said there was “great attention and awareness” about the migrant situation and “a lot of solidarity.
“The problem is to see when, and to what degree, that solidarity will become concrete acts,” she added.
“That’s what I am interested in now”.
OVER 1,700 PEOPLE AT LAMPEDUSA’S HOTPOT
Meanwhile, the big wave of migrant-boat arrivals that has put the small Italian island of Lampedusa at the centre of international attention continued unabated on Wednesday.
Nine groups of migrants made up of a total of 242 people landed early on Wednesday, after 23 boats brought 896 to Italy’s southernmost island on Tuesday.
There were over 1,700 people at Lampedusa’s migrant hotspot early on Wednesday, including over 443 unaccompanied minors.
Ex-premier and 5-Star Movement (M5S) leader Giuseppe Conte is visiting the island on Wednesday.