European Diplomats Meet to Discuss North African Migrant Crisis
Diplomats from the European Union are gathering in Brussels today for an emergency summit to discuss ways to address the flow of migrants from North Africa that has inundated Italian ports and resulted in at least 1,500 deaths this year so far. A draft of the plan E.U. officials will be discussing suggests that Europe ...
Diplomats from the European Union are gathering in Brussels today for an emergency summit to discuss ways to address the flow of migrants from North Africa that has inundated Italian ports and resulted in at least 1,500 deaths this year so far. A draft of the plan E.U. officials will be discussing suggests that Europe will resettle only 5,000 migrants and the others will be returned to their countries of origin. Italy will also propose military action. “We know where the smugglers keep their boats, where they gather,” Italian Defense Minister Roberta Pinotti said. “The plans for military intervention are there.” He said that Italy would be willing to lead such an intervention if it received U.N. support. They also proposed U.N. refugee camps be established in Niger, Sudan, and Tunisia, so the United Nations could process migrants before they flee their countries.
Currently 70,000 migrants are being housed in Italian facilities while awaiting processing, including some of the 150,000 that made the journey last year. Another 986 were rescued yesterday alone and officials fear that warmer spring weather will encourage even more to attempt the trip despite the shockingly high death toll so far this year.
Saudi Arabia Continues Strikes in Yemen
Despite Saudi Arabia’s announcement on Tuesday that it is shifting the emphasis of its campaign in Yemen from military strikes to diplomatic engagement, Saudi jets continue to hammer Yemeni sites today. Targets included Houthi tanks near Aden and a weapons warehouse in Ibb. The United States has pressured Saudi officials to wind down its air campaign. A representative for the International Committee of the Red Cross said that the situation in Yemen “is nothing short of catastrophic,” noting that there has been no electricity in the capital for more than a week.
- Tens of thousands of Ethiopians took to the streets yesterday to protest the execution of Ethiopian Christians by the Islamic State in Libya.
- Turkey has recalled its ambassador to Austria and said that a parliamentary declaration using the word “genocide” to describe the Ottoman purge of Armenians “will have permanent negative effects on Turkey-Austria relations.”
- U.S. airstrikes in Syria have killed 2,079 people since last September, according to a report by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights; the toll includes 66 civilians and 90 Jabhat al-Nusra fighters in addition to members of the Islamic State.
- Military authorities from Arab League nations met in Cairo yesterday to begin discussions of the technical aspects of forming a joint international force, as decided last month.
- U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials returned a tranche of ancient Egyptian artifacts to Cairo after breaking up an international smuggling ring.
-J. Dana Stuster
ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images