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Hollande Says Calais Camp must be Dismantled | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Migrants make their way across a fence near train tracks as they attempt to access the Channel Tunnel in Frethun, near Calais, France, July 29, 2015. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

French President Francois Hollande said on a visit to the port of Calais Monday that the sprawling “Jungle” migrant camp there would be “completely dismantled” after stressing over the weekend that thousands of migrants living in the shantytown would be dispersed across the country.

Hollande, on his first visit to Calais as president, also called on Britain to “play its part” in resolving the migrant crisis. Most of the migrants in the camp, many of them from Sudan and Afghanistan, want to go to Britain and try to stow away on lorries heading across the Channel.

“I am determined to see British authorities play their part in the humanitarian effort that France is undertaking here,” Hollande said, flanked by security forces.

The “Jungle” holds between 7,000 and 10,000 people, according to various estimates.

Calais authorities are building a wall funded by Britain to prevent migrants from smuggling onto lorries heading to the port.

Former president Nicolas Sarkozy visited Calais this week, as he campaigns for a return to the presidency next year, promising to be particularly tough on immigration.

Some French opposition politicians have called for the ditching of an agreement under which border controls take place on the French side of the channel, saying Britain should handle the problem.

Hollande said on Saturday that about 9,000 places will be made available at “reception and orientation centers” for migrants living in the camp.

He spoke on i-Tele, after visiting a facility in Tours, about 240 km southwest of Paris.

The migrants will be split into groups of 40 to 50 people for a limited period of three to four months, Hollande said. Those who fit the asylum criteria will be allowed to stay in France, while those who do not will be deported, the president added.