The Latest: Pope endorses news initiative to inform migrants


VIENNA (AP) ā€” The Latest on Europe’s response to the influx of migrants and asylum-seekers (all times local):

Pope Francis is encouraging a new EU-financed information portal on Europe’s migration crisis, saying such initiatives should help integrate migrants, foster dialogue and promote peace.

Francis sent a message of appreciation to Italian news agency ANSA, which is partnering with France Medias Monde and Germany’s Deutsche Welle on the project. Infomigrants.net describes itself as an information portal aimed at migrants “to counter misinformation at every point of their journey,” since they are often duped by smugglers. It is published in French, Arabic and English.

Francis said Tuesday he appreciated all initiatives “that wisely open themselves to the complex migration phenomenon.” He said he hoped the site would encourage integration and help create “a renewed commitment for an authentic culture of welcome and solidarity.”

Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz says his country is ready to “protect” its borders with Italy amid growing concerns that the influx of migrants into Italy could soon result in a spillover into his country.

Kurz spoke to the Austria Press Agency Tuesday amid preparations to tighten border controls.

Defense Minister Hans Peter Doskozil says his ministry is ready to deploy armored vehicles to the Brenner border crossing between the two countries within 72 hours. Ministry spokesmen on Tuesday dismissed reports that the vehicles already are at the Brenner, the main crossing from Italy.

Officials say there has been no upsurge in migrant entries. But Kurz says both Italy and the European Union need to know that “we are ready to protect our Brenner border if necessary.”

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