Italy diplomatic tensions flare as migrants head to Spain

Lloyd Doyle
June 14, 2018

Justice Minister Dolores Delgado said that Italy may have violated worldwide humanitarian law, while Ximo Puig, president of the Valencia region, commented: "Turning this into a political weapon is despicable.it is clear that Europe must act more wisely, but we can not let these people die at sea".

He has accused charities of working with human traffickers but said Italy would not stop rescuing migrant boats itself.

"We have nothing to learn about generosity, voluntarism, welcoming, and solidarity from anyone", far-right Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini told the Senate.

Mr Salvini said he plans to visit his conservative German counterpart in Berlin soon to hammer out new proposals on the boat row and the broader issue of migrant quotas.

How Europe should share the responsibility of handling migrants trying to get into the bloc from war zones and poor countries, largely across Africa and the Middle East, remains a vexed question.

Spain finally ended the deadlock Monday by saying the ship could land at its port of Valencia, with its arrival expected later this week.

"With my German and Austrian colleagues. we will propose a new (immigration) initiative", Salvini said, adding that it would apply both to the EU's external borders and to how the bloc's countries manage migrants internally. In practice, this has placed a heavy burden on Italy and Greece, where hundreds of thousands of people have entered in recent years.


Yet Slovakia's premier insisted that "we refuse to let migrants enter our country", a stance that could bring him into conflict with Italy's new leaders, who have called for the automatic, compulsory resettlement of migrants across all European Union countries.

This June 12, 2018 photo released Wednesday, June 13, 2018 by French NGO "SOS Mediterranee" shows migrants on the Aquarius ship after being rescued in the Mediterranean Sea.

Salvini's League campaigned during the March 4 national election on a strong anti-migrant agenda that included promises of mass expulsions of migrants already here. He accused France of having caused the instability in Libya that has allowed smuggling networks to thrive by spearheading the 2011 NATO-led military campaign that led to the downfall of Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi.

Beau said while the rescue ship the association operates, the Aquarius, is travelling the 1,500 kilometers (930 miles) to Spain, new victims "are dying under our eyes".

Italy sent two ships operated by the Italian navy and coast guard to take on some of the migrant passengers and escort the ship on the voyage.

The furore comes after President Macron blasted Rome on Tuesday for closing its port to a ship with 629 migrants on board from attempting to enter the country.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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