World Bulletin / News Desk
Former Italian minister from the centre-right Forza Italia party, Maurizio Gasparri, has called upon the Italian authorities to stop saving migrants who become stranded while trying to cross the Mediterranean from the northern African coast to Europe.
His comments come after the Italian navy revealed on Tuesday that it had saved 1,149 migrants more migrants from drowning in the past two days.
Complaining about the €9 million a month costs of running the "Mare Nostrum" (Our Sea) Operation, Gasparri described the efforts to save stranded migrants as "expensive and maniacal," according to The Local.
Far-right Northern League Party leader Matteo Salvini also called for the rescue operations to be stopped, calling it an "invasion" of the Italian coast.
The number of migrants fleeing to Italy has increased by 10-fold since the beginning of this year when compared to the same period of previous years due to increasing instability in Africa and the Middle-East.
Migrants often give up all they have to traffickers who operate in the Mediterranean region for their help in making the dangerous journey across the sea. Up to 20,000 have drowned in the process in the past 20 years, and increasing incidents lead many to fear that the Mediterranean is turning into a watery graveyard.
As much as 600,000 migrants from Africa and the Middle East are currently believed to be waiting in Libya to board more ships in a bid to get across.
Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal and Spain are also dealing with a similar problem, and have called on the EU for more financial aid to deal with the influx of migrants.Last Mod: 23 Nisan 2014, 10:29