UN chief says no military solution to migrant crisis

Rome (AFP) - UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Sunday urged Europe to refrain from resorting to a military solution to prevent a repeat of the shipwreck in the Mediterranean that left more than 750 migrants dead.

Last weekend's tragedy off the Libyan coast has spurred the EU to plan a military mission against people smugglers, with the bloc's top diplomat Frederica Mogherini charged with obtaining UN approval for such a deployment.

But Ban said in an interview with La Stampa that "there is no military solution to the tragedy in the Mediterranean".

"What is crucial is to have a global approach that takes into account the roots of the problem, the security and human rights of migrants and refugees, such as having immigration channels that are legal and regular," he said.

"The United Nations is ready to work with our European partners to this end," said Ban, who is visiting Italy on Monday.

"The measures recently announced in Luxembourg and Brussels are an important first step towards collective European action. That's a unique approach which can work for a problem of this nature," he added.

Beyond the military action against human traffickers, the EU agreed at the crisis talks in Brussels on Thursday to triple funds for the bloc's maritime search and rescue operation.

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, Ban and Mogherini are due to travel Monday to the Mediterranean to show their solidarity with the victims' families.

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