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500 Libyan refugees rescued after boat runs aground off Italy

[ 2011-05-09 11:08]     字号 [] [] []  
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A boat carrying about 500 Libyan refugees was stranded in waters off the southern Italian port of Lampedusa on Sunday, but all on board were rescued, an Italian news agency reported.

The boat was at first heading for Malta but hit rocks and ran aground when being escorted by a Maltese patrol ship toward the island of Lampedusa, according to the official ANSA news agency.

Many of those aboard jumped into the sea out of panic, the report said.

Coast guards launched a rescue operation and all the migrants were rescued. A few of the refugees suffered slight injuries and are in hospital, the report said, citing officials.

"There were about 500 people on board. It was a difficult situation.

Our patrol boats couldn't come close because of the shallow water," said Antonio Morana, a coast guard spokesman.

Italian ports have been receiving boats of migrants from Libya. Also on Sunday another boat carrying 800 people arrived in Lampedusa.

The Libyan government on Saturday said proposals were welcomed as long as they are conducive to solving the crisis in the war-torn country, but a meeting in Rome of countries involved in Libya on Thursday was a violation of UN resolutions "as no one has authorized the meeting's participants to speak for the Libyan people".

Prime Minister al-Baghdadi Ali al-Mahmoudi said that activities in violation of these resolutions should be investigated and reviewed.

He also warned to bring some international financial institutions to court if they appropriate the country's assets through "unlawful" means.

Libya's tribal leaders recently gathered in Tripoli in a bid to end the country's bloody conflict and safeguard national unity and independence.

More than 2,000 representatives from the country's 850 tribes attended the two-day meeting, which concluded late on Friday, voicing their support for Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi, and opposing foreign interventions.

The representatives also called for an early resumption of social stability in Libya as well as for accepting regional or international agreements, which aim to offer a reasonable solution to the country's conflict.


(中国日报网英语点津 Julie 编辑)

500 Libyan refugees rescued after boat runs aground off Italy

500 Libyan refugees rescued after boat runs aground off Italy

Todd Balazovic is a reporter for the Metro Section of China Daily. Born in Mineapolis Minnesota in the US, he graduated from Central Michigan University and has worked for the China Daily for one year.