Latvia ready to send border guards to Mediterranean

Latvia is ready to send its border guards and experts to the Mediterranean countries to help tackle illegal immigration problems, the government agreed in a closed meeting on Wednesday, the BNS newswire reported.

Interior Minister Rihards Kozlovskis told the press after the meeting: "It is clear that not only as the EU Presidency, but also as Latvia we may not pretend that we are not interested in this problem," and that therefore Latvia should contribute to its solution.

The minister was evasive about a possibility of accepting refugees, but said that Latvian experts are already taking part in different operations of the EU border guards' agency FRONTEX and are ready to do so also in the future.

"It is clear that we will not stand aside, but we cannot do more than we can," he said.

Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma reported that the European Council will discuss further actions of the EU during its meeting on Thursday in Brussels. She also noted that Latvia cannot accept thousands of refugees.

During the EU foreign and interior ministers meeting on Tuesday the EU Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs, Dimitris Avramopoulos, presented a ten-point action plan on migration, including reinforcing the Joint Operations in the Mediterranean, namely Triton and Poseidon, by increasing the financial resources and the number of assets.

European Council President Donald Tusk called an extraordinary EU summit on the refugee crisis in the Mediterranean, to be held on Thursday, after a fishing boat capsized overnight off the Libyan coast, killing as many as 700 migrants.

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