Italy threatens to return stranded migrants to Libya

Reuters Images
Reuters Images

 

Italy has threatened to return 177 stranded migrants to Libya following a standoff with Malta.

The country’s Interior Minister Matteo Salvini on Sunday demanded that the other European countries take in the migrants.

The migrants have been have been aboard an Italian coast guard ship for days, as European countries have denied them entry into their territories.

The Maltese Interior Minister Michael Farrugia insists that the “only solution” is for the Diciotti ship to dock at the Sicilian island of Lampedusa.

The Diciotti has been off Lampedusa after rescuing the migrants on 16 August. Italy asked Malta to take them in, but the latter refused, saying the migrant boat wasn’t in distress and that the migrants had declined their assistance, preferring to continue toward Italy.

In a tweet sent out on Sunday, Farrugia accused Italy of rescuing the migrants in Maltese waters “purely to prevent them from entering Italian waters.”