The Latest: Libya calls for EU aid to cope with migrants

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The Latest on European migration issues (all times local):

5 p.m.

The leader of Libya's unity government is appealing for European Union funds to help cope with thousands of migrants flooding into his conflict-ravaged country in hope of reaching Europe.

Fayez Sarraj said in Brussels on Thursday that "as the number of migrants rises, the economic and social fabric of southern Libya is placed under very significant strain."

He said Libya has some 4,000 kilometers (2,500 miles) of southern borderline and "doesn't have the resources to manage significant flows of people."

Sarraj said "financial contributions are necessary to bolster that southern border" and that "we seek the European union's support in that endeavor."

EU leaders meet in Brussels on Thursday and are expected to agree to step up funding to the country's coast guard to help prevent migrants leaving Libyan waters.


1:55 p.m.

A Norwegian official has asked Russia how come six asylum-seekers from Armenia were able to enter Norway via a remote Arctic border post despite a bilateral border agreement that doesn't allow them to cross there.

The police chief at Norway's Storskog checkpoint says the would-be refugees, aged between 4 and 58, entered the Scandinavian country by car on Tuesday.

Ellen Katrine Haetta told The Associated Press she had asked Russian authorities why they were let through without proper visas.

It was the first time asylum-seekers had crossed the border since Oct. 30, 2015. The crossing became famous when a few thousand people from Syria and the Mediterranean region found an unlikely route via Russia with many bicycling across the Arctic border, which is not open to pedestrians.


1:45 p.m.

A trial has started in Hungary of 11 men indicted in the case of 71 migrants who suffocated to death in the back of a refrigerated truck in 2015.

Prosecutors in the trial, which started Wednesday, have asked for life sentences for the four alleged human smugglers who are facing murder charges. The other defendants are facing shorter prison terms and expulsion from Hungary.

Migrants from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan were among the victims found in the back of a refrigerated truck with Hungarian license plates abandoned in the emergency lane of the A4 highway near Parndorf, Austria, not far from the Hungarian border, on Aug. 27, 2015.

The victims, who died while the truck was still in Hungary, included 59 men, eight women and four children.


11:45 a.m.

Pope Francis has thrown his support behind proposed legislation aimed at better integrating migrants into Italian society and the workforce, intervening in a broader debate over immigration and citizenship that has consumed national politics in recent weeks.

Francis noted Wednesday that he had met with some refugees this week as the U.N. marked world refugee day. The pope, who has prioritized the plight of refugees in his four-year papacy, said he wanted to voice his appreciation for a campaign backed by Italy's Radical Party to overhaul the country's restrictive migration policy and regularize those who are here illegally.

Francis stopped short, however, of backing a separate, government-backed proposal to give citizenship to children of migrants born or educated here. Currently, these children can apply for citizenship only at age 18.