Italy Summons French Envoy After Macron Blasts Refusal to Accept Migrant Ship

Viktor Orban

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.

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

France's Finance Ministry hoped to shortly reschedule a meeting with Italian Economy Minister Giovanni Tria that was canceled in the midst of a row over immigration, a French government source said. Justice Minister Dolores Delgado said that Italy may have violated global 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". The Aquarius was heading for Spain on Wednesday.

French President Emmanuel Macron is due to receive Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Friday, though the meeting has been jeopardized by the ongoing war of words.

A boat full of migrants trying to reach Europe by crossing the Mediterranean sea.

Salvini, who is also deputy premier and the leader of the anti-immigrant League party, called on France to apologise and said he was not prepared to take criticism from a country which regularly stopped migrants on their shared border.

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Macron's office said Tuesday that France doesn't want to "start a precedent" that would allow some European countries to breach global laws and rely on other EU member states to take in migrants.

Under EU rules, migrants must apply for asylum in the European country where they first arrive. In practice, this has placed a heavy burden on Italy and Greece, where hundreds of thousands of people have entered in recent years.

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.

According to the latest figures, around 7000 migrants are stranded in Serbia.

Earlier Wednesday, Salvini 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. The port is some 1,500 kilometres (930 miles) from where the ship had been on standby since Saturday night.

The migrants saved by the Aquarius, run by French NGO SOS Méditerranée, were stuck on the overloaded ship for over 30 hours as Italy and Malta bickered over who should take them, before Spain stepped in and offered the port in Valencia as a place for the migrants to land in Europe.

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