- Associated Press - Friday, October 21, 2016

TIRANA, Albania (AP) - The Latest on Europe’s response to the influx of asylum seekers and migrants (all times local):

12:50 p.m.

Albania’s Defense Ministry says it will contribute a warship to the NATO maritime force deployed to the Aegean Sea to help stop the smuggling of migrants from Turkey to Greece.

The ministry said Friday that a frigate with a crew of 21 will be part of NATO’s flotilla to the Aegean Sea in reconnaissance and search-and-rescue missions, starting in November.

Albania, a NATO member since 2009, has not been a major transit route for migrants through Europe so far, although small groups have tried crossing it to reach its northern neighbors.


10:20 p.m.

A Cyprus police spokesman says a boat with 83 people aboard including 37 children has been towed to a harbor on the east Mediterranean island’s northwestern coast.

Spokesman Andreas Angelides told The Associated Press that all those aboard are believed to be Syrian migrants. He said authorities are trying to confirm initial information the boat set sail from Mersin in Turkey and intended to reach Cyprus.

He said the boat was towed Friday morning after being spotted off the coast the previous evening.

Cyprus Civil Defense spokeswoman Olivia Michaelidou told the AP a reception center on the outskirts of the capital Nicosia is being prepared.

Cyprus lies around 100 miles (160 kilometers) off Syria’s Mediterranean coast but hasn’t’ seen a mass refugee influx.

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