Home Affairs Minister Manuel Mallia told parliament today that he had had talks with his Italian counterpart Angelino Alfano with a view for Malta to take part in the Mare Nostrum programme in the Mediterranean.

He said that as a result of his talks, since January, Italy had taken some 20,000 illegal immigrants while Malta took on only 80. He added that this kind of cooperation would be extended to other Mediterranean countries.

The minister was introducing the second reading of the Armed Forces of Malta (Amendment) Bill which eliminates the recruitment in the armed forces of persons under 18 years of age with the possibility of engaging in armed conflict.

Mare Nostrum is a naval operation which sees the Italian Navy patrolling off Libya to rescue migrants.

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