Italy begins distributing travel documents to Tunisian migrants
Italian authorities began passing out temporary visas to thousands of largely Tunisian migrants Saturday, upping the ante in a potential diplomatic spat with France, dpa reported.
Italy, which has been inundated with migrants since a Tunisian revolution threw out former president Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali in January, argues that the visas allow the migrants to travel on to other European countries.
France, where most of the migrants want to go, disagrees.
Hundreds of migrants queued up in Ventimiglia, Italy, on the border with southern France Saturday to get the documents, reported Italian media.
But French officials said they would only allow entry by people carrying a passport who could prove they were holding adequate amounts of cash.
The newspaper La Repubblica reported that Italian authorities were not demanding a passport before handing out the visas. It is expected that Italy will hand out about 100 visas a day.