Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Italy’s stance on migrant ship ‘unacceptable’ – Paris

Ocean Viking, a vessel operated by SOS Mediterranee

Italy has breached EU norms by refusing to allow a charity-run rescue ship with more than 200 migrants on board to dock in its ports, the French government has said. After being turned away by Italy, the vessel requested permission to offload the migrants in France.

“The current attitude of the Italian government … is unacceptable,” Olivier Veran, a spokesman for the French government, told France Info radio on Wednesday. “The ship is in Italian territorial waters. There are extremely clear European rules that have been accepted by the Italians … This ship is intended to be admitted by Italy.”

Veran added that Rome must “play its role and respect its European commitments” by allowing the ship to dock on its shores. The spokesman said the French authorities are closely monitoring the situation with the vessel as negotiations with Italy are underway.

The indignation came after Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni released a statement on Tuesday implying that Paris had agreed to take in the Ocean Viking, a vessel operated by SOS Mediterranee, a group that rescues migrants at sea.

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