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Sobotka: Czechs, Italians to help Ivory Coast migrants

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Prague, Sept 7 (CTK) – The Czech Republic and Italy are preparing a joint project with which they are to help migrants from Ivory Coast, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka told journalists after meeting his Italian counterpart Paolo Gentiloni on Thursday.

The Czech Republic is to contribute with roughly one million euros to the project, helping the living conditions of the people who are returned from other countries to Ivory Coast.

Sobotka and Gentiloni said the two countries’ views of the migrant crisis differed.

The Czech Republic is against the redistribution of refugees and it primarily wants to solve the problem in their countries of origin.

“I informed Gentiloni about the activities the Czech Republic is implementing in the Middle East and North Africa,” Sobotka said.

He also mentioned a current project which trains the Libyan coast guard.

“I consider this a very good way which will help ease the migrant pressures from Libya in the direction of Italy,” Sobotka said.

In the new project, drafted by the ministries, the money is to help integrate into society the people who return to Ivory Coast from other African countries through which they were heading to Europe.

Sobotka said several hundred of thousands of people were without state citizenship in the African country now.

“Ivory Coast is one of the major source countries, when it comes to migration,” Sobotka said.

In cooperation with Italy, the money is to help refugees gain accommodation, health care and drinking water and to improve their prospects to be integrated into society.

Along with Greece, Italy is the most burdened European country facing migration because a large part of the refugees reaches the Italian coastline.

Two years ago, the EU created quotas for the redistribution of the refugees among EU members.

The Czech Republic rejects the quotas, arguing that they do not work, also taking issue with the criticism that Prague has not shown any solidarity with the rest of the EU in the question of migration.

Sobotka has repeatedly stressed that the Czech Republic helps improve the conditions of the refugees in the countries from which they come and also insisted on the protection of the EU outer border.

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