Deal needed on Sea Watch, Salvini says

Migrants can disembark if Netherlands or Germany take them

29 January, 16:57

    ROME - Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini on Tuesday said he will only allow the 47 asylum seekers on the Sea-Watch NGO ship to disembark if "the Netherlands, which gave its flag to the Sea-Watch, or Germany, the country of the NGO", agree to receive them.

    "In Italy we have already received, and spent, too much", said Salvini.

    Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli said "there isn't an Italian flag, but a Dutch" flag on the Sea-Watch.

    "Italy is the country that has saved the highest number of human lives in the past years, but the era of Renzi and Gentili is over", he said, referring to the two previous prime ministers. "It is obvious that we would open a port like a humanitarian corridor to make them disembark, but send them to the Netherlands immediately afterwards".

    Meanwhile the president of the opposition Democratic Party (PD), Matteo Orfini, and MP Fausto Raciti have filed a case, also signed by numerous PD members, against the government with prosecutors in Siracusa, Sicily.

    Orfini said the move is against "violations of the law that we believe were committed, like in the Diciotti case", in which over 100 migrants rescued by the coast guard were not allowed to get off the Diciotti ship during a 10-day standoff with the EU in August.

    Catania's court for ministers has asked the Senate for authorization to proceed in the Diciotti case in which Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini is charged with kidnapping for refusing to let the migrants disembark.

    Orfini said "we believe the migrants are being held illegitimately on the Sea-Watch", adding that there are "other arbitrary and illegitimate points".

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