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Austria Ready To Deploy Soldiers To Stop Migrant Influx

04 July 2017

Italy has reacted by summoning the Austrian Ambassador in Rome for an explanation. For majority of migrants, Italy serves just as an entry point.

"The reception of rescued migrants can not be seen as an issue only for Italy, but a matter for Europe as a whole", IOM chief William Lacy Swing said, appealing for the rest of the European Union to show more solidarity.

Austria's announcement, which has spurred a strong reaction on Italy's part, comes after last week, the Italian government threatened to close off its ports to vessels bringing in illegal immigrants from across the Mediterranean.

The latest report by the UNHCR, the UN's refugee agency, estimated the number of migrants and refugees having arrived in Italy by sea this year at nearly 85,000, with over 2,000 others having died or gone missing.

In influx of migrants in Italy has increased in the recent months.

The shortest crossing from Libya to Italy is only about 460km (290 miles).

One rescue boat is continuing the search for more survivors.

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Libya has been in shambles since its long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in October 2011, and kill by a mob.

Several hundred thousands refugees and migrants streamed into Western Europe along the so-called Balkan Route after crossing the Aegean to Greece from Turkey two years ago.

Austria and Italy are already cooperating on border controls, he pointed out.

Austria will deploy soldiers to its border with Italy if the migrant influx from the Mediterranean sea doesn't slow down, the country's defense minister said Monday. He added that the measure will be "indispensable if the flow of migrants from Italy does not diminish". The newspaper said that 750 soldiers were ready for deployment within 72 hours, and that four armoured vehicles had already been sent to the border area.

Austria coordinated with nearby Balkan countries past year to effectively close what was then the main route into Europe for migrants.

Interior Minister Marco Minniti said there was no emergency at the busy Brenner pass Alpine crossing, which an Austrian defence ministry spokesman said would be included in the controls.

Doskozil's center-left Social Democratic Party also appears to be toughening its stance on migration ahead of Austria's early elections in August.

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"This is not sustainable", the UNHCR'S special envoy for the central Mediterranean, Vincent Cochetel, said.

Migrants wait to disembark from the Spanish ship "Rio Segura" in the harbour of Salerno, Italy, 29 June 2017.

The ministry said Tuesday that it made the diplomatic move "following the declarations of the Austrian government about the lining up of troops at the Brenner Pass".

Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz has said that Vienna is prepared to "protect" the frontier with Italy "if necessary", as he spoke with the Austria Press Agency, as cited by AP.

Italy summoned the Austrian ambassador here for talks after Austria said it was ready to militarize its border with Italy to prevent asylum seekers from entering the country, the Italian Foreign Ministry announced Tuesday.

"I am frankly surprised by the comments" from Mr Doskozil, Mr Minniti said in a statement. Italy has protested and has asked other European nations to share the responsibility.

Italy's interior ministry said on Monday that the migrant and refugee arrivals so far this year have risen by almost 20 percent compared to the time in 2016.

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Austria Ready To Deploy Soldiers To Stop Migrant Influx