No new boats carrying Tunisians to Italy sighted: IOM

14th February 2011, Comments 0 comments

The International Organization for Migration said Monday that no new boats carrying Tunisian asylum-seekers to Italy's Lampedusa island have been sighted since last night.

"IOM staff on Lampedusa report there were no more boat arrivals during the night and that the transfer of migrants to other reception centres around Italy have stopped for the moment," it said in a statement.

A spokeswoman specified that since Sunday evening, no further boats carrying Tunisians had been sighted.

Meanwhile, over 2,000 Tunisians asylum-seekers who have arrived on the island following the North African country's popular uprising are now being lodged in a reopened reception centre.

The centre, which has a capacity of 800 people, was reopened on Sunday to cope with the massive wave of arrivals from Tunisia following the ousting of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

Some 5,000 Tunisians have arrived on Lampedusa in the last week, and authorities have been transferring them to other reception centres on the mainland to avoid overcrowding on the tiny island.

Earlier Monday, Italy's foreign minister said Tunisia and Italy share a common interest in curbing the wave of immigration.

© 2011 AFP

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