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FRANCE - ITALY - LIBYA

Hollande calls on Europe to 'go further' to end migrant shipwrecks

The bodies of the 24 victims of the latest shipwreck in the Mediterranean are taken ashore in Malta on Tuesday 20 April
The bodies of the 24 victims of the latest shipwreck in the Mediterranean are taken ashore in Malta on Tuesday 20 April Reuters/Darrin Zammit Lupi
2 min

French President François Hollande called on Europe and the world to "go much further" in tackling the "intolerable" shipwrecks that have cost hundreds of migrants' lives in the Mediterranean. The captain of the boat that sank on Saturday night, has been detained along with his second-in-command for their role in the loss of some 800 lives.

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"The European summit on Thursday cannot be an ordinary summit where we take ordinary decisions," Hollande said ahead of the emergency meeting called after the latest migrant shipwrecks in the Mediterranean.

"We must go much further ... and I call on all Europeans and beyond to tackle these questions which have become intolerable on a humanitarian level and intolerable on a political level."

More maritime and aerial surveillance are needed, Hollande said, but "that won't be enough".

He identified the conflict in Libya as a cause of the proliferation of people smugglers and migrants who seek their services.

"There are also countries which have been abandoned," he added. "I'm thinking of Eritrea, with more and more refugees. I also think of what is happening in the Sahel" where the French army is fighting jihadist groups.

Hollande dubbed the people smugglers "terrorists".

"By fighting these traffickers, we fight terrorism and by fighting terrorism we will fight these traffickers. Because they are making money off the back of misery, from distress, from death," he said.

Prosecutors in the Sicilian city of Catania on Tuesday arrested Tunisian national Mohammed Ali Malek, 27, on suspicion of multiple murder, causing a shipwreck and aiding illegal immigration and Syrian national Mahmud Bikhit, 25, on the latter count.

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