22:45 GMT +322 October 2019
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    Migrants crowd and inflatable dinghy as rescue vassel  Denaro  (not in picture) of the Italian Coast Guard approaches them, off the Libyan coast, in the Mediterranean Sea

    Skepticism Grows Over EU Plan to Sink Migrant Ships in Mediterranean

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    EU plans to resolve the refugee crisis in the Mediterranean using military force are raising more and more doubts in Brussels, Der Spiegel reports citing European officials.

    BERLIN (Sputnik) – Public outcry following the tragedy that left only 28 survivors prompted the European Union to review its approach towards migration and to consider using its soldiers to destroy smugglers’ boats before they can be used.

    "On the Monday after the recent disaster we had many reservations about the idea of sinking ships," the weekly quoted an anonymous EU foreign minister as saying on Friday, in reference to the April incident, when a boat carrying some 900 refugees from Libya capsized while heading for Italy.

    German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere has raised legal objections against the new EU plan, Der Spiegel said, explaining that, according to international law, naval ships are not legally allowed to capture and destroy vessels such as those carrying illegal migrants from North Africa and the Middle East to Europe.

    "We have serious misgivings [about the new plan]," the weekly quoted an insider in the German Foreign Ministry as saying on Friday.

    Germany, as well as Russia, have insisted on UN backing and Libyan consent for the military action plan proposed by EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini.

    Crisis-hit Libya is one of the countries that asylum seekers are fleeing in search of better life conditions. According to the United Nations, some 60,000 asylum seekers have tried to cross the Mediterranean this year. More than 1,800 migrants have died at sea while attempting to reach Europe in 2015, which is a 20-fold increase over the same period in 2014.

    In November, 2014, the European Union launched Operation Triton, which aims to prevent anyone from entering the Europe undetected. As part of the operation, fully-equipped sea vessels and aircraft accompany migrants to shore for medical treatment, identification, and an assessment of their needs.

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