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  • Migrants rescued off the Libyan coast are seen onboard rescue ship Mare Jonio, August 28, 2019.

    Migrants rescued off the Libyan coast are seen onboard rescue ship Mare Jonio, August 28, 2019. | Photo: Mediterranea Saving Humans

Published 29 August 2019
Opinion

The far-right Minister Matteo Salvini relaxed his war against African migrants at a time when he can be excluded from the next government.

Italy’s acting Interior Minister Matteo Salvini authorized Thursday the landing of women, children and sick people aboard the Mare Jonio, an Italian humanitarian ship which rescued on Wednesday African migrants at the Mediterranean Sea.

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"The Mare Jonio may descend women, children and the sick," Salvini said, althought he also warned that it is still in place the "the prohibition of entry and berthing of a ship, which does not respect the law and appeals to the state of necessity on board."

According to local analysts, this unusual, partial permission might be related to his relative loss of power. The League leader could be left out of the executive branch after the Five Star Movement and the Democratic Party (PD) agreed to create a new government.

The Mediterranea Saving Humans NGO reported on Wednesday that its ship, the Mare Jonio, had rescued 101 African migrants at a time when their rubber boat was sinking. Among them are 18 women, 8 pregnant women, 22 children under 10 years.

"When migrants tell you we don't want them, remind Salvini and his fans that the Dublin treaty was signed by Berlusconi (also the League of the North). It is Salvini the one who has never attended to the meetings to modify this treaty." The meme reads, "Migrants, Schlein: In Europa, the League has been absent in 22 meetings to negotiate the Dublin regulation."

The humanitarian rescue ship still carries 98 African migrants on board, as reported by local media il Sussi Diario, which added that Italian authorities have not responded the Mare Jonio's "Place of Safety" (POS) request.

Italy has long complained it has not been getting enough support from the European Union (EU) countries in dealing with the migration issue and last year Salvini shut ports to rescue ships run by aid groups.

Since then, such vessels have repeatedly been left stuck at sea for days or weeks as EU states spar over what to do with the people aboard.

Last week Malta allowed 356 migrants carried by the rescue vessel Ocean Viking to disembark after six European Union countries agreed to share the asylum seekers.

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