Migrants remain at sea as Italy-Malta standoff intensifies

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Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said Italy's refusal to allow the Aquarius ship to dock at an Italian port risks "creating a unsafe situation for all those involved".

Since Friday, the German branch of the SOS Mediterranee NGO has been rescuing migrants and asylum seekers in the Mediterranean and taking them on board Acquarius.

Italy's spat with Malta began after its reported refusal to come to the aid of another rescue ship Seefuchs, which was stranded with 126 migrants on board due to violent seas until it was allowed to dock in the Sicilian port of Pozzallo on Saturday. "The situation is stable but it can not run" forever. It said some of the passengers were suffering from water in their lungs as well as chemical burns caused when gasoline mixes with seawater.

Could the migrants have gone to Malta?

In an attempt to ease the stalemate, a number of mayors of port cities in Italy on Monday said that they would allow the ship to dock in their cities. Medical workers had said food on board the ship was going to run out by Monday night.

More than 600,000 migrants have reached Italy by boat from Africa in the past five years. "The details of this agreement are not known and we don't know if Salvini will inherit that deal", he said.

The Aquarius and its passengers were caught up in a crackdown swiftly implemented by the right-wing partner in Italy's new populist government, which has vowed to stop the country from becoming the "refugee camp of Europe". On Sunday evening, he posted an image of himself on Twitter with his arms crossed above the message, "We are closing the ports", rendered as an Italian hashtag.

His co-deputy premier, Luigi Di Maio, claimed that Monday was a turning point in Europe's divisive debate over immigration.

While thanking Spain for their offer of help, the Maltese Prime minister said Italy had broken worldwide rules and that there was a need to sit down with European partners to avoid an incident like this from happening again.

"That's why we ask the government in Valletta to take in the Aquarius in order to offer first aid to the migrants on board", the statement continued.

Last week, Salvini said Rome should increase its deportations of migrants.

"Les choses avancent dans ce G7" — Emmanuel Macron
Alors qu'il était dirigé par les conservateurs de Stephen Harper, le gouvernement canadien avait appuyé l'expulsion de Moscou. Il a ensuite pris place à bord de l'hélicoptère présidentiel Marine One , qui l'a conduit jusqu'au sommet du G7 à La Malbaie.

Maltese Premier Joseph Muscat accused Italy of violating worldwide norms governing sea rescues and said its stance risked "creating a risky situation for all those involved".

Around the same time, Spain's new Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez, said his country would welcome the Aquarius. France and Spain have previously said it's not their job either.

SOS Mediterranee said late Sunday that it had received instructions from Italian authorities to hold position between Malta and Italy after previously heading north.

The Sea Watch 3 and Aquarius both remain at sea.

But after Italy's new far-right interior minister said it couldn't dock, and then Malta said the migrants were Italy's responsibility since Italy's coast guard oversaw the rescue, the ship was running out of provisions. "All the survivors are exhausted and dehydrated because they spent many hours adrift in these boats".

"Thank you, Lord", the women sang.

It's not yet clear what Salvini and the new government have in mind, but it's worth remembering that the League's Roberto Maroni was interior minister in 2009 when Italy implemented its nefarious policy of literally pushing boats back to Libya.

"As such Malta will not take the said vessel in its ports".

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

"Malta takes in nobody".

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