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World: France to offer Johnson EU deal on migrants

'Her incompetence on this issue is dangerous': Home sec's handling of migrant crisis attacked by Labour

  'Her incompetence on this issue is dangerous': Home sec's handling of migrant crisis attacked by Labour Labour has accused Priti Patel of "comprehensively failing" on the issue of migrant crossings in the Channel after a record number of people arrived on British shores in small boats last week. © PA Labour has accused Priti Patel of 'failing' on the issue of migrant crossings in the English Channel Shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds told Sky News' Trevor Phillips On Sunday that his counterpart's "incompetence on this issue is dangerous".

France's Prime Minister Jean Castex is preparing to write to British counterpart Boris Johnson with proposals for a new post-Brexit deal on migration with the EU after the disaster in the Channel last week that left 27 migrants dead, a minister said Monday.

France says it wants a deal with the UK that can help minors be reunited with their parents without being forced into the hands of traffickers © Ben STANSALL France says it wants a deal with the UK that can help minors be reunited with their parents without being forced into the hands of traffickers

Castex will write to Johnson on Tuesday, less than a week after a letter penned by the British premier to President Emmanuel Macron and immediately posted on Twitter angered France, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said.

Belarus "does not want confrontation" with Poland

 Belarus Europe-migrants-Belarus: Belarus "does not want confrontation" with Poland © Reuters / Belta Belarus "does not want confrontation" with the Poland Moscow (Reuters) - Belarus does not want confrontation with Poland but still expects a response from the European Union to its proposal to transfer to the Community Block 2,000 migrants blocked at the border of the former Soviet Republic, Declared Monday President Alexandre Loukachenko.

Darmanin told reporters that France was prepared to resume discussions with the UK on the issue -- after pointedly disinviting Home Secretary Priti Patel from a meeting of European ministers at the weekend -- but only once the "double talk" stopped in London.

He called for a "balanced" accord that would offer "real solutions" for dealing with highly organised trafficking networks often spread across France, Belgium, Germany and other countries. Darmanin insisted it could not be with France alone but all of the EU.

"We do not want a unilateral agreement," he said after a meeting chaired by President Emmanuel Macron.

"An agreement would set the framework for cooperation between Britain and bordering countries on immigration issues that were not negotiated at the time of Brexit," he said.

The broken dreams of desperate migrants fleeing Africa for Saudi

  The broken dreams of desperate migrants fleeing Africa for Saudi The broken dreams of desperate migrants fleeing Africa for SaudiInstead, after he reached the coast of Somalia, the smugglers demanded more money and dumped the 19-year-old when he couldn't pay up. Broke and alone, Fentahun had no option but to walk back the way he came -- a journey many hundreds of kilometres through the desert.

"Mr Prime Minister Jean Castex will write tomorrow to the British prime minister to outline the French demands in more detail and in full and our point of view," he said, adding that the letter would be received by the British side on Tuesday afternoon.

"We can then start -- if the British want -- an open discussion and we can meet this week," Darmanin said.

- 'Cannot accept' -

French officials complain the public statements from British officials -- such as a proposal in Johnson's letter to Macron that Britain take back migrants -- were at odds with a more constructive line taken in private talks.

Macron was particularly aghast that Johnson had published the entire text of his letter on Twitter.

The spat has added to a litany of post-Brexit rows between the two sides, which also include a dispute on fishing rights in the Channel which has threatened to spill over into a full-blown trade war.

Johnson calls for British police patrols along French coast to stop migrant crossings after 27 die in Channel

  Johnson calls for British police patrols along French coast to stop migrant crossings after 27 die in Channel British patrols along the French coast are needed to prevent migrant boats from attempting to cross the Channel, the prime minister has told France after 27 people died near Calais. Five women and a girl were among the victims after their boat capsized in the water. One of the dead women was later reported to have been pregnant.Two people were rescued and four people-smugglers have been arrested, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin has said.

The deal set to be proposed by France could include ways to ensure that unaccompanied minors can safely reach Britain to rejoin family, instead of putting themselves at the mercy of traffickers, Darmanin said.

But he rejected proposals that would see Britain unilaterally force migrant boats back to France, saying it was against international maritime law and would put people's lives in danger.

"We cannot accept this practice," he said.

He also rejected calls to have French police intercept migrant boats already in the water, saying it was a dangerous method that migrants would resist in any case.

He reiterated calls for Britain to implement a legal route for migrants to seek asylum, claiming that it would discourage people from trying to make the Channel crossing in the first place.

- 'Highly structured' -

France has already secured the deployment of a surveillance plane from the EU's Frontex border agency to patrol France's northern coast, and Darmanin said two French helicopters would be deployed as well to try to spot migrant launches before they reach sea.

Drones with thermal imaging tools will also be used, though for now drones with facial recognition capabilities cannot be used systematically without police warrants, he said. Darmanin also said that the number of police in a special department dealing with illegal migration would be doubled.

Little information has been released about the identity of the victims who drowned in Wednesday's disaster, although several are thought to have been from Iraqi Kurdistan.

Darmanin said an Iraqi man who was rescued had begun his journey in Syria, travelling to Belarus and then through Poland and Germany to northern France.

He told investigators he paid 8,700 euros to reach France, where Channel crossings typically cost an additional 2,500 to 3,000 euros. "These are highly structured and international networks that we consider organised crime," he said.

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Lithuanian villagers back tough line on Belarus migrants .
From her green-painted homestead near the Belarusian border, Lithuanian pensioner Jadvyga Mackevic remembers the day she saw three migrants coming out of the forest and being detained. But border guards say small groups of migrants still regularly try to cross different parts of the largely forested border between the two countries. "It seems we won't be able to return to normal life soon," Rustamas Liubajevas, head of Lithuania's border guards, told AFP.The border guard chief said he "pities" migrants trying to cross the border, because they were "tricked" by the Belarusian regime into believing that entering the European Union would be easy.

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