21:38 GMT +317 October 2019
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    Syrian refugees are escorted by Carabinieri after disembarking from Belgian Navy vessel Godetia at the Augusta port, Italy, June 10, 2015

    Italy Not Ready to Carry Through With Immigration 'Plan B' –Italian Senator

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    In an interview with Sputnik, Italian Senate Vice President Maurizio Gasparri warned that the government of Matteo Renzi is unprepared to deal with the refugee crisis, and that his warnings of implementing 'Plan B', which would redistribute some of the refugees seeking residency in Italy to other countries, is not backed up by firm political will.

    Asked about Renzi's 'Plan B', which the prime minister announced would be implemented if Europe does not show solidarity with Italy's African immigration crisis, Gasparri responded bluntly: "Does 'Plan B' even exist? You are an optimist. In reality, Renzi does not even have a Plan A. There is a 'Plan N', n for 'nothing' – just absolute helplessness."

    The Forza Italia party senator, whose party is presided over by former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, argued that "true leaders come through in times of crisis," and that Berlusconi showed his fortitude during the immigration crisis of 2009. 

    "During the crisis over migration in 2009, Berlusconi met with [Libyan leader Muammar] Gaddafi and blocked the exodus of refugees from Libya, signing an agreement with Tunisia and Egypt. People criticized him, saying that talking to Gaddafi was a mistake, that he's a dictator, etc. But now, Libya has turned into a caliphate, where people get their heads cut off."

    Gasparri noted that so far, Prime Minister Renzi has not shown the same type of firmness over the present immigration crisis.

    Asked what needs to be done to curb the crisis, Gasparri argued for a firm position, stating that the present situation is becoming unbearable for Italy, and leading to the deaths of thousands of illegal immigrants at sea.

    "We need a naval blockade, the repatriation of illegal immigrants, and a distinction between refugees from countries engrossed by war and others. We need to create refugee camps in Africa, under the auspices of the UN, with military forces providing security, to accept refugees from countries at war, and return home those who simply want to leave their country illegally. Firmness and determination are necessary. A UN resolution on the basis of Paragraphs 41 and 42 of Chapter 7 of the UN Charter must be adopted. Paragraph 42 provides for a naval blockade of countries which threaten international order. Courage and determination are necessary, since there have simply been too many deaths and clashes as a result of the current policy. As a result of the illegal human trafficking, thousands of people have died."

    Asked to comment on Western countries' sanctions policy toward Russia, Gasparri noted that the sanctions should be lifted, and that by maintaining them the West is losing out on a partnership that could help to ensure Western security.

    "In the US, Renzi, talking about the lifting of sanctions against Russia, was firmly reprimanded by President Barack Obama. Obama's policy is suicidal for the West; the sanctions are his mistake. We must lift sanctions and make Russia a major Western partner. This will help us in the fight against Islamic fundamentalism –terrorism which uses the Islamic religion for its aims. Putin is in this sense is a bulwark of security and freedom for the West. Russia is a friendly country and we must put an end to these absurd sanctions."

    Commenting on the immigration crisis in his country, Prime Minister Renzi noted Sunday that the situation over migrants is "tense." In May, the European Commission proposed to use a quota system to relocate some 40,000 asylum seekers from Italy and Greece, 24,000 and 16,000 migrants respectively, to other EU member states. The figures represent approximately 40 percent of asylum seekers arriving in Italy and Greece and who are in need of protection, according to the European Commission.

    Related:

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    EU Commission Insists Member States Will Be Forced to Accept New Migrants
    Tags:
    migrant crisis, immigration, illegal immigration, Forza Italia party, Italian Senate, Maurizio Gasparri, Matteo Renzi, Silvio Berlusconi, Italy, Africa
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