Malta: Mediterranean becoming 'cemetery' from EU inaction on migration

Oct. 12, 2013 at 10:52 AM
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VALLETTA, Malta, Oct. 12 (UPI) -- Malta's prime minister is urging Europe to take action on migration, saying deaths from capsized migrant boats are turning the Mediterranean into a "cemetery."

Joseph Muscat said rescuers from Malta and Italy have been instrumental in saving the lives of hundreds of passengers aboard the boats, but the rest of the European Union has provided only "empty talk," the BBC reported Saturday.

"I don't know how many more people need to die at sea before something gets done," he said. "Rules need to change, whether they are tighter or looser is not the issue, the fact is that this thing is broken and it needs to be fixed.

"As things stand we are building a cemetery within our Mediterranean Sea," Muscat said.

His comments came after Italy and Malta initiated a rescue operation Friday when a boat carrying about 200 people capsized 70 miles off the Italian island of Lampedusa. At least 50 people died.

Earlier in the day, the Italian coast guard rescued at least 500 other migrants in separate boats.

Egyptian officials said 118 mostly Syrian and Palestinian migrants were pulled from the waters off Alexandria Friday. At least 12 migrants died in that accident.

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