Austria calls for asylum checks on ships in Mediterranean

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VIENNA, Sept. 14 (Xinhua) — Austrian interior minister Herbert Kickl on Friday called for checks to be conducted on ships carrying would-be asylum seekers in the Mediterranean Sea.

Speaking during a conference for European and African leaders in Vienna, Kickl said that while talks with African nations have not yet led to any concrete agreements, one must “not capitulate to international people smuggling”, and urged for preventative measures to be pushed forward.

The Austria Press Agency reported that Kickl later clarified his comments, saying that his proposal for checks on asylum seekers at sea would not entail the full asylum procedure.

Instead, it would be a quick check to see if a person is even eligible for asylum, as was suggested during a European Council summit in June, according to Kickl.

He said the measure would “have the added benefit of removing ships involved in trafficking” from the region.

In addition, the same checks can be conducted on the European Union’s outer borders, Kickl said.

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