Italy’s new interior minister ordered to close the port to rescue ship Aquarius carrying 629 migrants, Matteo Salvini offered Malta to take the vessel with 123 children and seven pregnant women, Sky reported on Monday.
Italy and Malta both But Malta said it has nothing to do with the ship Aquarius rescue operation, the EU migrants’ crisis is sparking a stand-off between the two Union members. Italy’s new government warned several times that the country is unable to welcome more refugees from North Africa and the Middle East despite he desire to save the lives.
The crisis marked the first display of Italy’s get-tough immigration policy under the right-wing League. They are attempting to make good on electoral promises to halt the flow of migrants into the country. Meanwhile, Maltese PM Joseph Muscat said Italy’s refusal to allow the Aquarius ship to dock at an Italian port risked “creating a dangerous situation for all those involved”.
After series of the warnings, Italian interior minister Salvini said:
“Enough! Saving lives is a duty, but transforming Italy into an enormous refugee camp isn’t.”
The head of the League party’s hard position reflects the new policy regarding the migrants. Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and his right-wing ruling party supports such a hard-line when it is about refugees.
Far-right EU governments prefer a hard-line migrants policy
According to the German charity SOS Méditerranée, a ship Aquarius has been instructed by the Italian Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre to stand by in its current position, 35 nautical miles from Italy and 27 nautical miles from Malta. In fact, the ship with 629 migrants is closer to Malta’s shire but the country doesn’t want to welcome it.
On Sunday night, Conte said Italy was sending two motorboats with medical staff aboard in case the migrants needed help, but he made no mention of how the Aquarius might ever get into port.
Matteo Salvini says a second ship has rescued hundreds more migrants near Libya and is heading for Italy.
“Italy has stopped bowing its head to obey, this time there are those who say NO,”
he tweeted in a response to attacks and accusations in inhuman behaviour.