Italy, France to work together to block immigrants{0}

After days of fierce sparring, Italy and France have patched up their differences over the fate of thousands of Tunisian migrants, avoiding a major rift over European Union border control rules.

The two neighbors agreed to joint sea-and-air patrols to block any new North African migrants from sailing to European shores.

France also promised to honor temporary residency documents that Rome plans to issue to Tunisian migrants who have already flooded Italy in recent months. But Paris insisted the migrants must be able to prove they can financially support themselves a condition that could prove insurmountable to thousands hoping to live in France, Tunisia’s former colonial ruler.

Top security officials from Italy and France sought a conciliatory tone as they struggled with the crush of more than 20,000 Tunisians who sailed on often rickety boats to Italy’s southernmost point, the tiny Mediterranean island of Lampedusa.