Migrant crisis: Italy threatens to close ports

Jun 30, 2017, 00:26
Migrant crisis: Italy threatens to close ports

More than 10 200 migrants were rescued between Sunday and Tuesday off the coast of Libya, including 5000 for the single day of Monday, 3300 Sunday and 1900 on Tuesday.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday that "we will help Italy" with the asylum-seeker crisis.

Italy will continue saving lives at sea but it is "no longer sustainable" for all those rescued to be brought here and the possible block would include foreign vessels run by humanitarian NGOs, by the EU's Frontex border agency, and by the EU NavforMed mission against migrant traffickers, ANSA reported.

"We can't go on like this", a source told AFP after media reports that Maurizio Massari, Italy's ambassador to the European Union (EU), handed a letter to the bloc warning the country was considering closing its doors to boats of migrants.

Earlier this month, Breitbart London reported on the ousting at local elections in Italy of a mayor who had struck a deal with the Hungarian financier to turn the tiny island of Lampedusa into a gateway to Europe for migrants travelling from Africa.

The head of the conservative Northern League, Matteo Salvini, resorted to a slogan "stop the invasion" as he spoke out against migrant arrivals in Italy.

Italy's ruling, center-left Democratic party has come under pressure over the migrant issue.

"Now is the moment to deliver, and we will hold them to this", the commissioner said. And even the maverick radical Five Star Movement is moving to a more anti-immigrant position, calling for a halt to any new migrants being lodged in Rome.

Nearly 9,000 people were rescued between Saturday and Monday, with a further 2,000 plucked on Tuesday from vessels run by human traffickers along the central Mediterranean route from Libya to Italy, according to local media. Often that country is Italy.

Countries such as Greece and Italy want more support, but some eastern European nations are refusing to take their share of migrants from frontline states under a controversial relocation scheme agreed by the EU two years ago. Several U.N. employees were held for a while, then released.

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