Libya lawmakers cool on Italy’s migrant mission

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — The Latest on asylum-seekers and refugees in Europe (all times local):

8:40 p.m.

The Libyan parliament has voiced strong opposition to the planned deployment of Italian navy vessels to Libya’s territorial waters to help the coast guard curb the flow of migrants.

The parliament based in eastern Libya warned that such a move would be “exporting the illegal migration crisis to Libya” by sending migrants stopped at sea back to Libya.

The parliament also criticized the U.N.-recognized, Tripoli-based government of Prime Minister Fayez Serraj of striking the deal with the Italians.

Serraj’s government has denied that, although Italian Premier Paolo Gentiloni said his Libyan counterpart requested help from Italy’s navy.

Hundreds of thousands of migrants are brought to Italy each year after embarking from Libya in unseaworthy smugglers’ boats.

The parliament in Tobruk says having a foreign navy’s vessels patrolling Libyan waters would be a “violation to the sovereignty of Libya.”


6:15 p.m.

Dozens of children from refugee camps around Athens have performed at the ancient Herodes Atticus theater as part of a global initiative to teach music to children from low-income families.

The children gave an hour-long performance at the renovated 1,800-year old stone amphitheater, which is located in the Greek capital at the foot of the ancient Acropolis.

Most of the children came from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan

One singer, 12-year-old Gamkin Abdo said before going on stage Tuesday night: “I feel good when I am going to the concert. It’s good, and when I sing I feel, better,”

The performance was part of a three-hour concert organized by El Sistema, a music education program founded in Venezuela that has been adopted in more than 50 countries.


5:25 p.m.

Italian authorities are holding a German group’s migrant rescue boat suspected of aiding “clandestine immigration.

The 33-meter (100 foot) long, Dutch-flagged Iuventa vessel sequestered in a Sicilian port on Wednesday is operated by migrant rescue group Jugend Rettet.

The prosecutor in Trapani, Sicily, ordered the boat put under preventative seizure at Lampedusa island as Italian authorities investigate what they suspect could be aiding “clandestine immigration.”

Jugend Rettet tweeted the boat’s crew was interviewed, which has happened previously in Lampedusa. It said it had not received any information about being the target of an investigation.


4:15 p.m.

Italian lawmakers have voted to approve having Italian…

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