Why Italy wouldn’t accept a boat carrying 600 migrants - but Spain will

12 June, 2018, 07:06 | Author: Dustin Murphy
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Sanchez said the invitation, his first global initiative since toppling his corruption-tainted conservative predecessor, was a way to "comply with worldwide commitments regarding humanitarian emergencies".

"It is our obligation to help to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe and to offer a safe port to these people".

The United Nations called on the countries to resolve the issue, describing it as an "urgent humanitarian imperative".

It suggested that the hundreds on board "are running out of provisions". It ends what was becoming an increasingly hard and untenable situation for the crew of the Aquarius and the more than 600 rescued people who were aboard.

"The priority of both the Italian and Maltese authorities should be ensuring these people receive the care they need", European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas told reporters, calling for a "swift resolution". Salvini campaigned on an anti-immigrant platform that included a vow to expel hundreds of thousands of migrants already in Italy, even though experts doubt such mass deportations are feasible or financially viable.

Italy's government is led by two populist parties tied together, in part, by hostility toward migrants and a desire for a tougher stance on immigration.

Matteo Salvini, the interior minister and head of the League party, said: "Enough!"

"Italy has stopped bowing our heads and obeying", Salvini said in a Facebook post.

Muscat said he told Conte "that Malta is acting in full conformity with its global obligations".

Francesco Galietti, CEO of Policy Sonar, a Rome political consultancy and research firm, said that Mr. Salvini's decision to stop the Aquarius from reaching an Italian port was a calculated move to highlight Italy's migrant plight.


"To deny entry to a port when the facilities are there, it feels like a bigger statement", said Elizabeth Collett, the director of the Migration Policy Institute Europe.

A migrant rests on the deck of the MV Aquarius as it sails into the Sicilian port of Messina, on May 14, 2018.

More than 100 unaccompanied minors and a number of pregnant women are on board the Aquarius. The ship said it had been ordered by Italy's coast guard coordination centre late Sunday to remain 55 kilometres off Italy and 45 kilometres from Malta.

The migrants now on the Aquarius were rescued during six operations within Libyan Search and Rescue Area on Saturday night.

"We are talking about people".

"We would need a resupply at sea which is not so easy to organize so we urge Italy to find a solution very soon close to our position", he told The Associated Press in Paris.

The country refuses to take in migrants because of its small size. It said just under 70% of the 171,635 migrants who entered Europe by sea had arrived in Italy.

The number of migrants arriving in Spain has been on the rise, Benavides reports, while the number of sea arrivals in Italy "has dropped 77 percent compared to this time past year, following controversial deals with the Libyan Coast Guard and investigations into NGO search-and-rescues".

But the political mood in Italy has changed, with resentment growing among voters toward both migrants and the European Union.

Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau offered her city's help while criticising other Europeans, saying the crisis over the Aquarius "puts in question" the unity of the EU.

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