Spain offers to dock migrant ship at heart of Italy-Malta standoff

ROME/MADRID – On Monday, June 11, 2018-Spain was pitched to take in a humanitarian ship stranded in international waters with 629 migrants aboard as both Italy and Malta refused it to reach the dock.

The ship, have sailed north way to Italy but Matteo Salvini, the head of the far-right League party, who became interior minister in the current month, curbed an influx of migrants from Africa, stopped it and committed that it should go to Malta and not anywhere else. Malta ignored, replying it had nothing to have with the rescue mission, which was overseen by Italian coastguard.

On Monday, June 11, 2018, Salvini posted on Facebook, “Saving lives at sea is a duty, but transforming Italy into an enormous refugee camp is not”, he also added, “Italy is done bowing its head and obeying. This time there’s someone saying no.”

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said, “This is an important turning point. Starting today, Italy is no longer alone,” Conte posted on Facebook, “Now it is time for “more fair” EU asylum rules”.

The European Commission urged in news conference, “We are talking about people … The priority of both the Italian and Maltese authorities should be ensuring these people receive the care they need”. He also added, “We call on all involved to contribute to a swift resolution so that the people on board the Aquarius vessel may be safely disembarked as soon as possible.”

On Sunday, Muscat said, “We are concerned at Italy authorities’ directions given to Aquarius on high seas. They manifestly go against international rules, and risk creating a dangerous situation for all those involved”.

According to law, it would be very difficult for Italy to refuse the boat a safe haven, as its own coastguard coordinated the rescues, holding up more than 280 migrants in its own vessels. Earlier, on Monday, June 11, 2018, Salvini doubled down on his position, warning another rescue ship, the Sea Watch 3, operated by a German charity, that the ship may not be allowed to dock in Italy if it loads migrants off Libya.

by Sawan Kumar on June 12, 2018

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