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Italy should not transfer migrants, says Austria

Staff Writer |
Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz said Italy should stop transferring illegal migrants from its islands to the mainland during a meeting with his Italian counterpart in Vienna.

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"We demand that the transfer of illegal migrants from Italian islands like Lampedusa to the mainland stop", Kurz was quoted as saying by Austrian news agency APA after the meeting with Alfano.

Kurz also said Austria indents to close its border at the Brenner Pass to secure its border if Italy lets migrants through.

Kurz said the meeting with Alfano was "correct" although they did not share "the same position".

"If Italy were to continue its timely transfers on the mainland, from which migrants proceed northwards, not only will Central Europe be overwhelmed, but drownings will continue", Kurz said, noting that rescue operations in the Mediterranean "should not be a ticket for Central Europe".

Earlier this month, the Italian foreign ministry summoned the Austrian ambassador to Rome after Vienna said it was ready to deploy up to 750 troops at the Brenner Pass "very soon" unless the flow of migrants from Italy diminishes.

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