Italy transfers migrants off ship, but refuses them entry

July 14, 2018 - 6:20 am

ROME (AP) — Italy has transferred 451 migrants from a big fishing boat onto two border patrol vessels in the Mediterranean, but says they should be sent to Malta or Libya — not Italy.

Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, who has forced migration to the top of Europe's agenda by refusing rescue boats access to Italian ports, vowed to show no weakness on Saturday.

In the latest standoff, Italy and Malta refused to let a fishing boat full of migrants dock. Early Saturday, the migrants were taken off the ship and transferred onto a rescue vessel from the EU border patrol agency Frontex and a ship from the Italian border police.

Salvini's office said he told the Italian premier that the two ships should now be directed south toward Malta "or better Libya."

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