Open Arms heading towards Lampedusa after Italian court orders lift of ban

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There was a breakthrough this evening on the predicament of 115 immigrants who have been stranded on board the vessel Open Arms for 13 days.

The regional administrative court (TAR) of Lazio on Wednesday lifted a ban on NGO migrant rescue ship Open Arms entering Italian waters, sparking the ire of Interior Minister and anti-migrant League leader Matteo Salvini whois enforcing a closed ports policy.

The decision was announced by the Spanish NGO.

It said it was now heading for the closest safe port to safeguard the rights of the 147 migrants on board who have been on board for 13 days since being picked up off Libya. The TAR cited in its ruling the “situation of exceptional gravity and urgency” aboard the ship after viewing medical and psychological reports.

Premier Giuseppe Conte wrote a letter to Salvini Wednesday morning urging him to let minors from the Open Arms land. Salvini reacted by saying he would sign an order banning the Open Arms from landing its migrants in Italy. “In the next few hours I will sign my No because I don’t want to be an accomplice of migrant traffickers,” he said.

“Tell me if it isn’t a strange country where a a Spanish ship in Maltese waters can resort to an administrative court to ask to land in Italy.

“There is a plan to go backwards in time and reopen Italian ports, to turn our country into Europe’s refugee camp. “But I’m not going back in time”.

Salvini also said no to a possible “unnatural pact” between former ally the 5-Star Movement (M5S) and the centre-left opposition Democratic Party (PD) to reopen Italy’s ports to NGO migrant rescue ships.

“We will be careful over the coming days that an unnatural alliance is not created in Rome, a couple against nature between the PD and the 5 Stars, between (ex-premier and former PD leader Matteo) Renzi and (M5S founder and comic Beppe) Grillo, to reopen Italian ports,” he said. “We will try to oppose with all energy we have in our bodies so that decent people arrive in Italy, but we can send back home the too many criminals that the Left has allowed in”. Salvini sparked a government crisis last week by filing a no confidence motion in Conte after a dramatic split with the M5S on votes on a highspeed rail line between Turin and Lyon.


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