Spain offers to take in stranded migrant ship

Spain offers to take in stranded migrant ship

"Malta takes in nobody". Malta is in full conformity with worldwide obligations and will not take the vessel in its ports. Salvini campaigned on an anti-immigrant platform that also 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. Numbers have dropped dramatically in recent months, but rescues have increased in recent days, presenting Salvini with his first test as minister.

Doctors Without Borders (known by its French initials, MSF) has urged European Union member states to give a boat packed with 629 rescued refugees and migrants immediate right to disembark, a day after Spain granted the vessel rights to dock in its territory. The mayor of Naples, who has repeatedly clashed with the League leader, said he would welcome in the humanitarian boat. "It's unacceptable to play politics with human lives which is what is happening at the moment", Gabriel Attal said.

There are an estimated 629 migrants on boat the Aquarius, including 123 unaccompanied minors and seven pregnant women.

French President Emmanuel Macron denounced the decision to block the Aquarius, operated by the Franco-German charity SOS Mediterranne, saying global law obligated Italy to take in the migrants.

Italian newspaper Repubblica reported government sources said Mr Salvini's plan is to only let migrants enter Italian waters if they are on Italian, military or commercial boats.

"No one should dare brand Italy or its government as inhumane or xenophobic", Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli said.

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The conversation came at the end of a day when the rescue vessel Aquarius was denied entry into both Italy and Malta reportedly as a result of a dispute between the two countries.

"Malta is neither the competent nor the coordinating authority in this case".

Conte is set to head to Paris for talks with French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday ahead of the European summit on June 28-29, with a particular focus on migration, Macron's office said Monday. "If NGO vessels are prevented from disembarking rescued persons in Italy, this would also have significant implications for merchant ships and the movement of trade throughout the Mediterranean, as merchant ships would again have to become involved in a greater number of rescues". Right-wing politicians have accused charity boats operating off the coast of Libya of operating as "taxis" for migrants.

The United Nations says at least 785 migrants have died crossing the sea so far this year.

The migrants, including pregnant women and scores of children, were saved by the French charity SOS Mediterranee on Saturday.

On Friday, he suggested North Atlantic Treaty Organisation intervene to protect Italy, saying the country is "under attack from the south".

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