Italy's Matteo Salvini shuts port to 629 rescued migrants

Italy's Matteo Salvini shuts port to 629 rescued migrants

A number of mayors across southern Italy are pushing back against Matteo Salvini's decision Sunday to close off the country's ports to a rescue ship carrying more than 600 migrants. "My goal is to guarantee a peaceful life for these children in Africa and for our children in Italy".

Despite the claim by Mayor Orlando that the government stands in opposition to worldwide law by closing the ports to migrant smuggling operations, a distinguished expert on global maritime law Admiral Paolo Caffio has given his verdict, stating that not only is it legal, but there is also precedent, reports Il Giornale.

Given that Italy's decision to close their ports was the first strong-man move from anti-immigration Home Affairs Minister and Leader of the League (LEGA), one of the two parties of the ruling coalition, and the murky waters surrounding worldwide obligations, it would appear that the stalemate may continue.

And the crisis between the Mediterranean countries may be far from being over, as Italian newspaper Repubblica reported that 800 more people have been saved by both Italian and global boats in Libyan waters overnight.

Italy's position, Muscat said, risks "creating a risky situation for all those involved".

As the rhetoric intensified, the Aquarius remained on standby in the Mediterranean Sea with its 629 passengers, including 123 unaccompanied minors and seven pregnant women. Malta refused, and when Italy instructed the ship to stay at sea, Malta accused Italy of violating global norms.

The MV Aquarius rescue ship is seen as migrants on are rescued by the SOS Mediterranee organisation during a search and rescue (SAR) operation in the Mediterranean Sea, off the Libyan Coast, September 14, 2017.

Malta has refused to take in the Aquarius.

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

"Broader issues such as who has responsibility and how these responsibilities can best be shared between states should be looked at later", UNHCR special envoy Vincent Cochetel said.

"Thank you Lord", the women sang. It added that the Aquarius "is still waiting for definitive instructions regarding the port of safety".

Numerous migrants were rescued in waters controlled by Libya, a common route for undocumented migrants attempting to enter Europe from sub-Saharan Africa, the BBC reported.

European Union law requires asylum seekers register in the first safe country they reach, but frontline countries such as Italy and Malta say the burden needs to be shared out across the bloc.

The island nation has progressively reduced the number of migrants it has taken in over the past decade, from a high of 2,775 in 2008 to just 23 a year ago, according to UN statistics.

Italy's new interior minister Matteo Salvini has called on Malta to open its border.

In defiance of Salvini, the mayor of Palermo, said he would allow the boat to dock in the Sicilian capital on Sunday night, however a journalist on board tweeted to say the boat had not moved since Sunday night.

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