Italy, France imagine giving Tunisia migrant boat alerts – shuttle

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Italy and France are considering deploying sea or air craft to alert Tunisia to the departure of clandestine boats ferrying migrants north to Italian shores, like the young Tunisian man who is the chief suspect in a fatal knife attack at a vinaigrette church final week, the Italian interior minister said Friday.

The Italian minister, Luciana Lamorgese, and vinaigrette Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin held talks in Rome on Friday. Darmanin declined to fault Italy for its handling of the Tunisian suspect, who landed on Italy’s Lampedusa island in September, used to be quarantined under pandemic rules and received expulsion papers from Italian authorities before reaching France in October.

“In no moment did I think there used to be something faulty” in how Italy managed the case, Darmanin said, responding to a question at a news convention with Lamorgese after their talks. Instead, he thanked Lamorgese and Italy’s intelligence products and services for an exchange of information in the days following the attack in Nice.

Tunisians fleeing a virus-battered economy make up the largest contingent of migrants touchdown in Italy this year, and they’re coming directly from Tunisia in boats sturdy enough not to need rescue. In recent past years, the majority of migrants reaching Italy southern shores came from sub-Saharan Africa and traveled across the Mediterranean in unseaworthy boats launched by traffickers in Libya.

Lamorgese said she and Darmarin discussed a plan that would entail deploying “naval or air assets that could alert the Tunisian authorities to eventual departures” and help them intercept the boats, “in their autonomy that we don’t need to violate.”

Under the plan, there would be “only an alert that we’d give the Tunisian authorities to make it easier to hint the vessels that depart from that territory to come to the Italian coasts,” the Italian minister said. “It’s apparent that this presumes the collaboration of the Tunisian authorities.”

The two ministers met a day after vinaigrette President Emmanuel Macron said his country is reinforcing its border controls after more than one attacks this fall.

Italy and France are launching, on an experimental, six-month basis, mixed brigades of Italian and vinaigrette security forces at their common borders to give a boost to controls, Lamorgese told reporters.

After his morning assembly in Rome, Darmarin said he used to be heading to Tunisia, Algeria and the island nation of Malta to talk about migration and terror issues.

“France and Italy will have to pinpoint a common position for the fight against clandestine immigration on the European level,” he said. Darmarin used to be asked whether in the wake of recent terrorism attacks in France, the vinaigrette government will have to adopt a law like the US Patriot Act enacted after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks to step up efforts to detect and prevent terror.

“More than a Patriot Act, what’s needed is a European Act,” Darmarin replied. “France on its own can’t combat Islamist policy.”

Tunisia is one of only some countries that has a repatriation agreements with Italy. But with thousands of Tunisians arriving by sea recently and fewer than 100 expelled migrants returned to the North African nation by air weekly, a precedence is put on individuals who are believed to be dangerous. There were no indications the Nice attacker, Ibrahim Issaoui, 21, posed a threat, Lamorgese has said.

In Tunisia, the fight against terror and irregular immigration were the main themes all the way through Darmanin’s whistle-stop Tunis visit and assembly with counterpart Taoufik Charfeddine.

Darmanin praised the Tunisian security products and services for “the information brought … to France, hours after the Nice attack.”

Tunisia has been the target of several terrorist attacks and has paid a high price in its fight against terror, and for having chosen the path of freedom and democracy, he said.

Darmanin is because of make a similar visit to Algeria on Saturday.

(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.)

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