Latvia cares about mass drownings in Mediterranean: President

Latvia, in its brief role at the Presidency of the Council of the EU, is paying sufficient attention to the plight of refugees massing on the sea at Europe’s southern borders, President Andris Bērziņš told the press Tuesday after a meeting with Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma.

Asked to assess whether Latvia might not be showing enough interest and care about what is going on at Europe’s southern water-bound frontier, the President said both Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs and Interior Minister Rihards Kozlovskis were working diligently together on this issue. 

Straujuma on her part announced that she will likely be attending Thursday’s scheduled emergency meeting of the European Council to discuss the increasingly grave situation.

On Monday the European Commission came out with a ten-point plan to resolve the immigration crisis in the Mediterranean region. The plan, approved by the EU’s foreign and interior affairs ministers, provides for expanded control as well as rescue operations and will be discussed at Thursday’s extraordinary summit.

The EC’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the plan reflects the resolve of member states to react to Sunday’s tragic sinking of another rickety vessel holding more than 700 now lost refugee souls.

Meanwhile, Monday brought a new distress call to the International Migration Organization (IMO) from a boat in the process of sinking with more than 300 aboard.

Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs said on Latvian Television news program Panorāma Monday that Latvia is not threatened by the influx of North African refugees from the Mediterranean region, and the issue is not on the public agenda as they "are not interested in the Baltic states."

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