France, UK share repatriation flights for illegals

16th November 2004, Comments 0 comments

CALAIS, France, Nov 15 (AFP) - France and Britain are to share repatriation flights to return illegal immigrants to their country of origin, Interior Ministers Dominique de Villepin and David Blunkett said Monday.

CALAIS, France, Nov 15 (AFP) - France and Britain are to share repatriation flights to return illegal immigrants to their country of origin, Interior Ministers Dominique de Villepin and David Blunkett said Monday.

The announcement was made in the northern French port of Calais where the ministers met to review progress in the fight against illegal immigration since the closure two years ago of the controversial Sangatte holding-centre.

"The number of illegal immigrants has been divided by 20 in two years, falling from 2,000 to 100 today," Villepin said.

A series of technical and administrative measures have been put in place to cut the flow of migrants, including British immigration controls at the Gare du Nord rail station in Paris and hi-tech detection equipment at Calais and other ferry ports.

"We are able to cooperate in a way that would have been unthinkable a few years ago," Blunkett said.

Since the start of the year some 7,000 illegal immigrants have been prevented from crossing the channel by the French and British authorities, according to French official figures.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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