The diplomatic fallout between France and Italy over a stranded migrant ship within the Mediterranean Sea is much from over.
The French authorities on Thursday suspended a deal to take 3,500 asylum-seekers presently in Italy, as Paris criticized the newly appointed right-wing Italian authorities of Prime Minister Georgia Meloni for not accepting passengers from the Ocean Viking migrant rescue ship.
Italy has not allowed the vessel to dock in its territory, leaving in limbo some 230 passengers who have been rescued within the Mediterranean Sea.
French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin stated on Thursday that France would enable the ship to dock within the French army port of Toulon on Friday. He blamed the “the new Italian leadership” for making the “incomprehensible choice not to respond to the many requests for assistance sent by the ship” though the boat was “clearly in the search and rescue area of Italy.”
Darmanin additionally introduced that France would instantly pull out from a European Union settlement the place some asylum-seekers accepted by Italy can be welcomed for relocation in different EU nations.
“France suspends all relocations of 3,500 refugees currently in Italy and calls on all other participants in the European mechanism, including Germany, to do the same” he stated.
Italy hit again and described France’s response as “totally incomprehensible” and “disproportionate.”
“The reaction that France is having in the face of a request to take in 234 migrants — when Italy has taken in 90,000 this year alone — is totally incomprehensible in the face of constant calls for solidarity owed to these people,” Italian Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi stated in a press release, following Darmanin’s feedback.
It additionally reveals “how firm and determined the posture of other nations in the face of illegal immigration is. What we do not understand is why Italy should willingly accept something that others are not willing to accept,” Piantedosi went on to say.
Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani additionally slammed the French response as “disproportionate.” Speaking to journalists in Amsterdam, Tajani stated “it is not written anywhere that they all have to come to us.”
Darmanin stated that France would manage quickly a gathering with the European Commission and Germany “to draw the consequences of the Italian attitude and to better regulate the actions of rescue at sea by NGO ships in the Mediterranean.”
“This is a bitter sense of relief because it’s 20 days too many for those on board who now have to start rebuilding their lives,” Eliot Guy, a spokesman for SOS Mediterranee, the NGO working the Ocean Viking rescue ship, advised CNN on the telephone, after France introduced it will enable the vessel to dock in its territory.
Guy confirmed that three folks in want or pressing medical consideration had been transported through helicopter to a hospital in France on Thursday.
The survivors onboard have been rescued in six rescue operations between October 22 and October 26, SOS Mediterranee stated Thursday in a press launch.
“Disembarking almost three weeks after their rescue, so far from the area of operation in the central Mediterranean, is the result of a dramatic failure from all the European states, which have violated maritime law in an unprecedented manner,” the group’s Director of operations Xavier Lauth stated.
The International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC) thanked France for “doing the right thing.”
France’s resolution got here after the European Commission on Wednesday known as for the “immediate disembarkation, at the nearest place of safety, of all persons rescued and who are on board the Ocean Viking.”
The Commission confused in a press release that the state of affairs onboard the vessel had reached “a critical level and needs to be urgently addressed to avoid a humanitarian tragedy.”
In current days round 1,000 migrants on board 4 NGO ships have been in limbo off the Italian coast, after Rome demanded that nations whose flag was flown by the rescue ships take accountability for the migrants.
Two of these ships — Geo Barents and Humanity 1 — have been ultimately allowed to disembark Tuesday within the southern Italian metropolis of Catania, Sicily, whereas a 3rd one, known as Rise Above, docked in Reggio Calabria in southern Italy.
The EU Commission stated Wednesday that it “will reinvigorate the work to reinforce cooperation among member states on search and rescue activities,” and would “urgently” convene the members to work additional on frequent options.
“The situation we are witnessing in the Mediterranean exposes yet again the urgent need for a singular, cohesive, migration and asylum policy,” it stated.