New immigration boatload lands in Italy

ROME, April 4, 2011 (AFP) - A new boatload of immigrants landed on Italy's Lampedusa island as Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi headed to Tunisia for talks Monday on how to halt the wave of north Africans crossing the Mediterranean.

A vessel carrying 210 immigrants landed on the tiny island shortly after midnight, according to local authorities who had to cope with the arrival of 600 immigrants on Sunday who arrived in a series of makeshift boats.

As the latest boatland reached the island, a further 1,344 immigrants were being transported in two ferries, La Superba and Clodia, to immigration process centres on the Italian mainland.

Italy has been confronted by a rising tide of immigration, with more than 22,000 having arrived on its territory since the start of the year, mainly from Tunisia in the aftermath of the revolution there.

Authorities in Rome also fear that the turmoil in Libya will also trigger a further immigrant exodus.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was to hold talks on Monday in the Tunisian capital Tunis about the problem.

Berlusoni annouced on Sunday that he would hold a summit in the near future with French President français Nicolas Sarkozy on the same issue.