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Pope says no migrant invasion, slams 'alarmist propaganda'

'Those who risk their lives at sea are seeking welcome'

23 September, 13:00

(ANSA) - ROME, 23 SET - Pope Francis on Saturday rejected the prevailing narrative of a migrant invasion as "alarmist propaganda" and said people who risk their lives at sea just want to be welcomed. Speaking at the concluding session of the Mediterranean Meetings in the French port city of Marseille, the pope referred to the "various Mediterranean ports" that "have been closed". "Two words ring out that fuel people's fears: 'invasion' and 'emergency', he said. "But those who risk their lives at sea are not invading, they are seeking welcome, they are seeking life," insisted Francis. "The migratory phenomenon is not so much a momentary emergency, which is always good for alarmist propaganda, but a fact of our time, a process that involves three continents around the Mediterranean and that must be governed with wise foresight," he continued, calling for "European responsibility". The Pope said that there is "the right both to emigrate and not to emigrate" and insisted on the importance of not becoming indifferent. "The solution to the terrible scourge of the exploitation of human beings is not to reject, but to ensure, according to the possibilities of each, a large number of legal and regular pathways for entry, which are sustainable thanks to a fair reception by the European continent, in the context of cooperation with the countries of origin," continued Francis. "To say 'enough', on the other hand, is to shut one's eyes; to try to 'save oneself' now will turn into tragedy tomorrow," he added. Italy and Europe are grappling with a significant rise in the number of migrants and refugees arriving by sea and so far the response has been largely security-focused with the emphasis on stopping departures.

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