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Italy threatens to shut airports over migrant 'charter flights'

AFP  |  Rome 

Italy's far-right threatened to shut the country's airports after media reported that planned to send charter flights of rejected asylum-seekers to

"If someone in or thinks of dropping dozens of migrants via non-authorised charter flights in Italy, they should know that there is not and there will be no airport available," Salvini said on Sunday.

"We will close the airports like we closed our ports," he added in reference to Italy's decision this summer to ban migrant rescue boats from entering its harbours.

His comments came after German agency reported Sunday that intended to start returning rejected asylum-seekers to via chartered flights.

The first flight was due to leave Monday, with another scheduled for October 17, according to The migrants were mainly Nigerians who had entered the via Italy, the agency said.

Similarly, Italian newspaper reported Saturday that Germany's federal migration office was sending letters to asylum-seekers, warning them of their "imminent" return to under the so-called rules.

That controversial regulation assigns responsibility for migrants to the nation of first entry.

However, Germany's interior ministry told later Sunday that "no deportations (of migrants) to Italy are planned in the coming days".

Immigration remains a hot-button issue among members despite a major drop in arrivals following the 2015 peak of the continent's migration crisis.

has welcomed more than a million asylum-seekers, many fleeing war-torn or Iraq, over the past three years.

In the face of rifts within her conservative camp and rising xenophobia, has pledged to forge bilateral agreements with EU partner countries for migrant returns.

But while was able to strike deals with frontline nations and Spain, Italy has been a much more reluctant partner at the negotiating table.

Salvini, whose far-right party forms a ruling coalition with the anti-establishment Five Star Movement, accuses other EU members of letting Italy shoulder an unfair share of migrants.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, October 08 2018. 06:00 IST
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