Italy sees 300,000 fleeing Libya turmoil - minister

MILAN Wed Feb 23, 2011 1:04pm IST

Related Topics

MILAN (Reuters) - Up to 300,000 migrants from Libya could flee to Italy because of turmoil in the North African nation, Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said in an interview published on Wednesday.

About a third of Libya's population, or 2.5 million people, are immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa who could flee if Muammar Gaddafi's government falls, he told Corriere della Sera newspaper.

"We know what to expect when the Libyan national system falls -- an abnormal wave of 200,000 to 300,000 immigrants. Or rather, 10 times the Albanian (refugee) phenomenon that we saw in the '90s," Frattini said.

"These are estimates, and on the low side ... It is a Biblical exodus."

Interior ministers from Italy, Cyprus, France, Greece, Malta and Spain will meet on Wednesday in Rome to set a common policy on the upheaval in North Africa and make a recommendation to the European Commission.

Tens of thousands of illegal immigrants try to make the journey from the northern coasts of Tunisia and Libya to islands off Italy every year.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson)

FILED UNDER:

Reuters Showcase

India Crush UAE

India Crush UAE

India cruise to easy win over UAE in Perth.  Read 

Budget 2015

Budget 2015

Full coverage of 2015/16 budget.  Full Coverage 

Sahara Saga

Sahara Saga

Some staff say Sahara has not paid salaries for months   Full Article 

Movie Review

Movie Review

"Dum Laga Ke Haisha" is rooted in reality, writes Shilpa Jamkhandikar.  Full Article | Related Story 

Nimoy Dies

Nimoy Dies

Leonard Nimoy, Star Trek's 'Mr. Spock,' dies at 83.  Full Article 

Gown Returned

Gown Returned

Lupita Nyong'o's $150,000 Oscar gown returned by thief via TMZ.  Full Article 

World Cup 2015

World Cup 2015

Full coverage of cricket world cup in Australia and New Zealand.  Full Coverage 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage