The Italian Interior Minister, Matteo Salvini, announced today that the 140 migrants who have been on board the ships of the Italian Coast Guard since Thursday will not disembark if an agreement is not reached for distribution in European countries.
The Coast Guard intervened on Thursday to rescue several drifting pneumatic boats in the central Mediterranean and transhipped some fifty who had been rescued by the Italian fishing vessel "Accursio Giarratano".
The fisherman rescued the fifty migrants when they were in international waters off Malta, but this country refused to take care of them.
At the request of help from the fisherman, the Italian Coast Guard went, which transferred the fifty migrants, and is now waiting for the landing to be authorized.
"I have given orders that no port be assigned before the distribution throughout Europe of the 140 migrants on board (of the Coast Guard boats) is signed," said Salvini.
On July 23, fourteen countries of the European Union gave their "agreement of principle" to a Franco-German initiative for a temporary mechanism that allows the landing of rescued migrants in the central Mediterranean and their subsequent distribution among states, as announced by the French president, Emmanuel Macron, after a meeting convened in Paris.
Italy did not participate in this meeting and Salvini said it was "an error of form and substance," and said that "Italy is not the companion of anyone and does not obey any order."
Despite the policy of closed ports announced by Salvini, ships continue to arrive, especially to the Italian island of Lampedusa, the southernmost, and this week more than 150 migrants landed on its coasts.
The United Nations Agency for Refugees (UNHCR) reported on Thursday through social networks of the possible death of 150 migrants by wrecking two ships off the coast of Libya.
At the moment in the central Mediterranean there are no ships of any European operation, nor rescue NGOs, as some have seen how the Italian Justice has seized their ships in the framework of investigations.
The only operational ship at this time is the "Ocean Viking" of SOS Mediterranée and Doctors without Borders, but has not yet reached the area, and the Open Arms ship is docked in Sicily.
. (tagsToTranslate) Salvini (t) disembark (t) migrants (t) Coast Guard (t)