Wednesday, 18 July, 2018

Italy refuses port to migrant rescue ship

Frank-Walter Steinmeier GETTYFrank-Walter Steinmeier said the worsening relationship between Europe and US could be irreparable
Andrew Cummings | 24 June, 2018, 22:26

Why is Italy seizing the ships?

Referring to the hastily arranged meeting and to the crisis over migration policies within Germany's government coalition, the fervently anti-migrant Orban said: "We understand that countries have domestic political difficulties, but this can't result in pan-European confusion".

"They risk the lives of the migrants on the dinghy, refuse to listen to Italian and Libyan authorities and intervene so they can load this valuable cargo of humans - of human flesh - on board", Salvini said.

Toninelli said Italy would seize both vessels, the Lifeline and the Seefuchs, to determine their legal status and would "once again save the migrants".

Merkel wants to secure a multilateral, EU-backed solution before the leader of the CSU and Minister of Interior, Horst Seehofer, proceeds with his own unilateral national plan on the migration issue.

Whether or not the ship is Dutch is the subject of some debate.

Italian Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli said on Friday on his Facebook page that Malta had refused to take in the ship, calling the decision "absurd" and "inhumane".

The aid group has rescued 675 migrants since 2016, until now handing them over to other ships to continue rescues at sea.

The NGO's co-founder, Axel Steier, denied breaking any laws and defended his organisation's actions.

On Wednesday, which marks the World Refugee Day, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development said asylum applications to European Union states almost halved past year from 2016.

Lifeline tweeted this morning that it was rescuing 300-400 people. "You can't wait until someone has a port for you - you have to act immediately".

Erdogan leads Turkey presidential poll after 20 percent vote count: state media
He said told his followers: "If Erdogan wins, your phones will continue to be listened to, fear will continue to reign". Six candidates are running for president and eight parties have fielded candidates for 600 parliamentary seats.

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Maize, rice, cranberries, cranberry juice, orange juice, sweetcorn and peanut butter are among the food products targeted. Tariffs on more than $3 billion worth of American exports to Europe took effect on Friday.

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Salvini has denounced the charity ships as "deputy traffickers", suggesting they profit from the rescues.

The problem was crystalized last week in a row between Italy's new populist government, Malta and France over who should take responsibility for 630 people rescued from the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Libya, the main departure point for people trying to reach Europe.

The ship arrived in Spain on Sunday along with two Italian ships, which were sent to ease the overcrowding on the Aquarius. It has now resumed its operations at sea.

Some time later, the head of the Italian government Giuseppe Conte and the President of France Emmanuel macron held talks, during which settled the controversy.

The news comes after far-right Interior Minister and Lega leader Matteo Salvini struck out at non-governmental organisations (NGO's) and "do-gooders" and shut down Rome's harbours to the ship.

"Crime in Germany is up 10% plus (officials do not want to report these crimes) since migrants were accepted", Trump tweeted, a day after he claimed German people were "turning against their leadership" over immigration.

Grandi, in a statement issued ahead of an European Union summit at the end of next week, said that guarantees were needed so that people in distress at sea are rescued and taken ashore in a predictable way.

They met on June 20 to discuss immigration ahead of the European mini-summit on June 24.

If that fails, he has vowed to order border police to turn back migrants, which means many will likely have to return to Italy.

Immigration figures are now much lower, with only 41,000 sea arrivals so far this year, according to United Nations data.

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