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Italy to demand closure of ports to international migrant ships

AFP  |  Rome 

wants to prevent ships operating for "international missions" from bringing migrants rescued off to Italian ports, said today.

"On Thursday, I will put on the European table at Innsbruck a demand to close Italian ports to ships of international missions," said on his account, referring to a meeting with his EU counterparts in the Austrian town next week.

"Unfortunately, Italy's governments over the past five years signed accords allowing all boats to bring their migrants in Italy," he said.

Italy's new coalition has set a goal of zero arrivals, and Salvini, who heads the far-right League party, has already banned boats chartered by charities to enter Italian ports.

The French rescue ship and the German boat were forced to divert to and respectively last month.

The Innsbruck meeting will be the first of EU justice and interior ministers under the new Austrian presidency of the EU.

did not name any of the several missions currently patrolling the Mediterranean, but typical among them is the Sophia, EU's anti-trafficking operation set up in 2015 to fight human trafficking. It is under Italian command with headquarters in

Another is the maritime border patrol mission Triton, launched in 2014 by Frontex to fight human trafficking. It uses NATO ships in some of its operations.

Overnight Saturday, 106 migrants arrived in the eastern after they were rescued Thursday off of by the Irish naval vessel Samuel Beckett.

For the time being, must still accept migrants rescued by its own or by cargo ships asked to intervene by the Italian

Since the start of the year, 16,687 migrants have arrived in including some 11,000 from Libya, or 80 per cent fewer than last year over the same period, according to Italian interior ministry figures.

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

First Published: Sun, July 08 2018. 21:35 IST