Italy holds Netherlands, EU ‘responsible’ for Sea Watch 3 issue

epa07592922 Italian Deputy Premier and Interior Minister, Matteo Salvini, speaks during the Raiuno Italian program 'Porta a porta' conducted by Italian journalist Bruno Vespa in Rome, Italy, 22 May 2019. EPA-EFE/MAURIZIO BRAMBATTI

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Italy’s interior minister Matteo Salvini said he is holding the Netherlands and the European Union “responsible” for the fate of 42 migrants on board the Sea Watch 3. The Italian government has blocked the migrants from disembarking at Italian ports for over a week.

The Dutch-flagged rescue boat Sea-Watch 3, and operated by a German aid group, has been stuck in the Mediterranean since rescuing 53 migrants drifting in an inflatable raft off the coast of Libya on June 12. Italy has only allowed eleven of those on board the Sea-Watch to disembark.

Italy and has refused to return those rescued back to crisis-hit Libya, saying Tripoli was not a safe port.

On Sunday, Salvini said that he had written to his counterpart in the Netherlands.

“I am incredulous because they are not interested in a boat that is flying their flag… and has been floating in the open sea for 11 days,” he said in a statement.

“We will hold the government of the Netherlands and the European Union, distant and absent as usual, responsible for all that happens to the women and men on board the Sea-Watch,” he added.

Via CNA/ RAI News

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