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EU triples funding for migrant rescue

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Rescue operations are carried out on Rhodes island, Greece, April 20, 2015. A vessel carrying approximately 200 irregular migrants sank off the coasts of Rhodes island in southeastern Aegean Sea on Monday, local authorities said.

Rescue operations are carried out on Rhodes island, Greece, April 20, 2015. A vessel carrying approximately 200 irregular migrants sank off the coasts of Rhodes island in southeastern Aegean Sea on Monday, local authorities said.
Rescue operations are carried out on Rhodes island, Greece, April 20, 2015. A vessel carrying approximately 200 irregular migrants sank off the coasts of Rhodes island in southeastern Aegean Sea on Monday, local authorities said.

European Union (EU) leaders have resolved to triple funding for search-and-rescue operations aimed at migrant boats in the Mediterranean, a media report said on Friday.

The decision was taken during a summit on migratory pressures held in the Belgian capital of Brussles on Thursday.

European Council (EC) President Donald Tusk said leaders had asked EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini “to propose actions in order to capture and destroy the smugglers’ vessels before they can be used,” BBC reported.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said any kind of military action could only be based on international law.

“There are two possibilities — either a UN Security Council Resolution or a unity government in Libya. We have neither at the moment,” she said.

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said Britain and France had “committed to get a resolution from the UN for an intervention in Libya”.

The summit comes after more than 750 people were killed on April 25, after their boat capsized some 209 kmsouth of Lampedusa, Italy.

The number of people fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East and Africa has risen sharply in recent months.

More than 35,000 are thought to have crossed from Africa to Europe this year and some 1,750 have died while attempting the journey.

The estimated toll from Saturday’s (April ) capsize was the worst on record.