Britain’s Johnson urges turning back migrant vessels to Libya

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FLORENCE, Italy: British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said on Thursday (Friday in Manila) said he favored turning migrant vessels back toward Libya as a “deterrent” measure that would take the immigration heat off Italy. “We are determined in the UK to help Italy. We recognise this is a European problem,” Johnson told a joint press conference with Italian counterpart Paolo Gentiloni in Florence. Johnson noted that British vessels HMS Diamond and HMS Enterprise were participating in the Rome-based European Union military taskforce dubbed Operation Sophia, launched in 2015 with the aim of neutralizing refugee smuggling routes in the Mediterranean.

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