Officials will meet to discuss immigrants

Feb. 14, 2011 at 10:39 AM

ROME, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- Officials from Italy and Tunisia say they will meet to discuss the large number of Tunisians fleeing turmoil in their African homeland.

A holding center on the Italian island of Lampedusa, south of Sicily, is already over capacity, ANSA reported Monday.

Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini and Tunisian Premier Mohamed Ghannouchi were to meet Monday evening to discuss the immigration issue, which Italy's Interior Minister Roberto Maroni has described as "a biblical exodus."

Thousands of Tunisians have fled the country since the fall of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali. The new government said there can be "no interference" it its internal affairs following a proposal by Maroni to use police to stem the migration.

The latest group of immigrants told police about 40 people fell into the sea and were feared dead after a Tunisian motorboat rammed their vessel.

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