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World Tensions between Italy, France heat up as migrant ship diverted to Spain

23:55  13 june  2018
23:55  13 june  2018 Source:   foxnews.com

Italy accepts 900 migrants but 600 more continue onto Spain

  Italy accepts 900 migrants but 600 more continue onto Spain An Italian coast guard vessel has docked in Sicily with more than 900 migrants aboard, evidence that Italy's new anti-migrant government is still taking in some asylum-seekers but is forcing the rest of Europe to accept others. Crew aboard the Diciotti began disembarking passengers in Catania's port early Wednesday. At the same time, the Aquarius vessel of the aid group SOS Mediterranee continued its dayslong westward voyage to Spain, where it was rerouted after Italy and Malta refused it entry.

Two Italian naval vessels on Wednesday were escorting the ship to Spain after the Socialist government of new Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez stepped up and Salvini also blasted France for having turned back 10,249 migrants at Italy 's northern border since January "including women

The standoff between Italy ’s Interior Minister Matteo Salvini and an NGO that wanted to originally dock a refugee ship carrying 629 African immigrants in Sicily has resulted in a major victory for the rightwing leader of the Lega Nord as the ship called Aquarius was diverted to Spain late yesterday evening

a large ship in a body of water: June 12, 2018: The French NGO © AP June 12, 2018: The French NGO "SOS Mediterranee" Aquarius ship is seen in the Mediterranean Sea.

Italy summoned the French ambassador and demanded an apology as it ramped up its standoff with Paris over migration on Wednesday.

The new populist Italian government challenged France to take in more asylum seekers after French President Emmanuel Macron accused them of cynical, irresponsible behavior for refusing entry of a rescue ship with hundreds of migrants on board.

In addition to summoning the French diplomat, Italy also canceled a planned between the countries’ finance ministers and warned that diplomatic relations have been compromised.

Spain rescues more than 900 boat migrants, finds four bodies

  Spain rescues more than 900 boat migrants, finds four bodies Spain's coast guard rescued 933 migrants and found four dead bodies in the Mediterranean Friday and Saturday, as the country prepared for the arrival of a charity rescue ship that was denied a port by Italy and Malta. The number of people fleeing poverty and conflict by boat to Spain doubled last year and is likely to rise again in 2018, according to the EU border agency, potentially pushing migration up the national political agenda.

629 migrants on board of Aquarius ship , Spain -bound, our first goal has been reached!” he wrote on Facebook. Tensions in the Mediterranean are likely to rise as more rescue ships head for the Italian coast. That drop is partly ascribed to a deal struck between Italy and Libya last year, in which the

Migrant arrivals to Spain have increased by 50% so far in 2018 compared to last year, while Italy has seen around a 75% decline, according to the International Organization for Migrants (IOM). Tensions in the Mediterranean are likely to rise as more rescue ships head for the Italian coast.

"I speak in the name of a government but I also have the aim of speaking for a people who have nothing to learn from anyone about generosity, volunteerism, welcome and solidarity," Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said to applause in the Senate chamber.

Italy has faced condemnation — and praise from others — for turning away the Aquarius rescue ship over the weekend, which was stuck in the Mediterranean Sea for days with 629 migrants onboard. Rome argues other European countries must step in, and that its passengers were never in danger.

Two Italian naval vessels on Wednesday were escorting the ship to Spain after the Socialist government of new Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez stepped up and offered the Aquarius safe harbor. They are expected to arrive in Valencia on Saturday night, said Sophie Beau, co-founder of the charity SOS Mediterranee that operates the ship.

Italy vows migrant ship cannot dock as Paris-Rome clash escalates

  Italy vows migrant ship cannot dock as Paris-Rome clash escalates By Philip Pullella

Mr Sánchez, who took office a week ago, said the ship would dock in Valencia. The migrants aboard the Aquarius were picked up from inflatable boats off the coast Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat tweeted his gratitude to Spain , saying Italy had broken international rules and caused a standoff.

Media captionCharity employees take care of migrants on the Aquarius. Spain ’s prime minister has stated the nation will soak up a rescue ship stranded within the Mediterranean, to assist keep away from a humanitarian catastrophe. Plane diverted to Shannon Airport after ‘bomb threat’ message.

"It's a relief for everyone, our teams and of course above all for the survivors to know that they are finally allowed to head to a safe port in Europe," Beau told reporters in Marseille, France.

Blasting France, Salvini said Macron has taken in only a fraction of the 9,816 migrants his country had pledged to welcome under a 2015 European Union relocation plan to relieve frontline countries Italy and Greece of the burden of caring for newly arrived migrants. The EU plan largely flopped, with only a handful of countries taking in their share: France took 635, the Associated Press reported, citing EU figures.

"So I ask President Macron to pass from words to action and tomorrow morning, welcome the 9,000 France promised to welcome as a sign of concrete generosity and not just words," Salvini said.

The standoff over the Aquarius appeared a clear tactic by Italy's new government to force Europe's hand at the upcoming summit of EU leaders in Brussels in late June. Italy for years has complained that it has been left largely alone to manage Europe's migrant crisis, but the new government says its tactics have finally gotten the point across.

Shunned by Italy, Migrants at Sea Begin Arriving in Spain

  Shunned by Italy, Migrants at Sea Begin Arriving in Spain After a week in a diplomatic standoff, the Aquarius and another ship carrying migrants docked in Valencia on Sunday. A third ship is on its way.The Aquarius, a rescue ship carrying 106 migrants, docked shortly before 11 a.m. local time. The Aquarius entered the port four hours after the arrival of 274 other migrants on board the Dattilo, an Italian Navy vessel. Another Italian Navy ship, the Orione, was expected to reach Valencia later on Sunday.

Italy dispatched two ships Tuesday to help take 629 migrants stuck off its shores on the Spain stepped up and offered the Aquarius safe harbor in Valencia after Italy and Malta both refused. In his speech, Salvini shot back and said France had turned back 10,249 migrants at Italy 's northern

629 migrants on board of Aquarius ship , Spain -bound, our first goal has been reached!" he wrote on Facebook. Migrant arrivals to Spain have increased by 50% so far in 2018 compared to last year, while Italy has seen Sign up now! You can't regret something you've never done! Show me anyways.

"I think we've never been so central and so heard as we have been over the last hours," Salvini told senators, adding that he had heard from sympathetic officials in Germany and elsewhere applauding his stance.

Salvini has accused European aid groups of essentially operating taxi services for Libya-based human traffickers, and has said Italy will now refuse their rescue ships entry. Italian maritime vessels, however, are still docking in its ports: on Wednesday, an Italian coast guard vessel docked in Catania, Sicily with 932 migrants aboard.

Still at sea were 40 migrants rescued by the U.S. Navy vessel Trenton, which was in the Mediterranean for what the U.S. 6th Fleet said were routine operations. The rescue was first reported by German migrant aid group Sea-Watch, which said 12 bodies had also been recovered during the operation.

Sixth Fleet officials didn't respond to requests to the Associated Press for information about where the migrants would go, saying only that they were being provided with food, water and medical care.

Macron on Tuesday blasted what he called Italy's cynicism and irresponsibility in turning away the Aquarius, with his office saying that France doesn't want to "start a precedent" that would allow some European countries to breach international laws and rely on other EU member states to take in migrants.

629 migrants on humanitarian ship caught in Mediterranean limbo

  629 migrants on humanitarian ship caught in Mediterranean limbo A ship carrying more than 600 rescued migrants is stranded in the Mediterranean Sea between Malta and Italy after both countries declined to take its human cargo. The ship, Aquarius, is operated by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and the SOS Mediterranee organizations.Aquarius rescued 629 people Saturday night into Sunday morning -- taking on people from two rubber vessels as well as "Italian navy ships, Italian coast guard ships and merchant vessels" in six different operations, MSF and SOS said on Twitter.The organizations said the boat was located 35 nautical miles from Italy and 27 nautical miles from Malta.

The EU on June 11, 2018 called on Italy and Malta to reach a “swift resolution” to allow the Aquarius, a search and rescue ship run in partnership between “SOS Mediterranee” Spain stepped up Monday and offered to take in a rescue ship carrying more than 600 migrants after Italy and Malta refused.

629 migrants on board of Aquarius ship , Spain -bound, our first goal has been reached!" he wrote on Facebook. Salvini had called on Italy to "close the ports" and pledged Sunday to "STOP the filthy business of illegal immigration."

On Wednesday, France sought a more conciliatory tone, with the foreign ministry saying France was fully aware of the burden Italy has carried. "None of the comments by French authorities have questioned this, nor the need for a close coordination between Europeans," a statement said.

Macron is due to meet in Paris on Friday with new Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte.

On Wednesday, Italian Finance Minister Giovanni Tria canceled a planned meeting with his counterpart, Bruno Le Maire.

Neither office gave a reason, but earlier the Italian foreign ministry said it had summoned the French ambassador to complain that the French comments about the Aquarius were "unacceptable," and were compromising their diplomatic relations.

It added that Italy was waiting for French to take action to "heal the situation that has been created."

Salvini also blasted France for having turned back 10,249 migrants at Italy's northern border since January "including women, children and disabled people." The border crossing point at Ventimiglia has been the scene of protests and desperation for years as France has refused to let in migrants, many of whom are seeking to reach family in France or Germany.

Under the EU's asylum laws — currently the subject of revision amid a major political dispute — migrants must apply for asylum in the country where they first enter Europe. In practice, this has placed a heavy burden on Italy and Greece, where hundreds of thousands of people have entered in recent years. Some countries feel justified in stopping migrants from entering when they should have registered elsewhere.

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.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Call to help find missing migrants as Italy, Malta refuse rescue ship .
The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) launched an initiative in Rome on Monday to help find missing migrants in the Mediterranean, a day after Italy and Malta refused to allow a rescue boat carrying 629 migrants to dock in its ports. Representatives from Italy, Malta, Greece and Cyprus met to discuss ways to better locate and identify missing migrants -- at the same time the Aquarius rescue ship, carrying migrants including children and pregnant women, was left stranded at sea for two days --- until Spain mid-Monday said it would allow it to dock at the port of Valencia.

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