Spain calls on Italy to end ‘deceptive’ tactics
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Spain called on Italy on Tuesday to end its “deceptive” tactics in its war against migrants, including the use of mobile personnel boards and “de facto” detention camps, in its push to stem the flow of asylum seekers across its southern border with Italy.
The Spanish government, in a letter sent to Italy’s ambassador in Madrid, said the Italian military is “not equipped to manage the crisis” on its southern frontier with Morocco and said it had made no progress against traffickers.
The letter was sent by Spain’s foreign ministry in Rome to Ambassador Maria Correa.
It came as Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni urged other European nations to join a bloc in which Italy is a member to deal with the crisis.
“Italy is not a safe country,” Gentilona said on a visit to Turkey, referring to Italy by its Spanish acronym.
“We have a very high risk in this respect and this is what we are talking about here,” he said.
“I call on the European Union, the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece, Portugal and all the member states of the bloc to take concrete measures to prevent the exploitation of the refugees in our common territory,” Gentila said.
In recent weeks, Italian authorities have detained more than 2,000 people trying to reach Italy’s borders, while authorities have said that at least 300 have died.
The war against illegal migration has become a major political issue as several governments, including France and Germany, have pledged to stem it, as well as Italy, which is one of the European nations with the largest numbers of asylum-seekers.
Italy, which has taken in more than 60,000 asylum-seeker arrivals this year, said last month that more than 1,000 migrants had died trying to cross its border with Spain.(Reporting by Marco Bellini; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Peter Cooney)