Italy Stops Ship with Migrants, Turns up Pressure on EU Allies
ROME (Reuters) - Italy has refused to allow a commercial vessel flying an Italian flag to bring ashore rescued migrants, apparently keeping up a hardline policy on new arrivals as it presses European allies to share the burden of hosting an influx of displaced people.
A commercial ship that supplies oil platforms off the coast of Libya pulled 66 migrants to safety on Monday, but it was told not to bring them to Italy, an Interior Ministry source said.
Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli said the migrants had been transferred to an Italian coast guard vessel on Tuesday. They will be brought to Italy, one source said, though the interior ministry source would not confirm.
The commercial ship picked up the migrants though it had been told Libyan patrol boats were coming to retrieve them, the interior ministry source said.
The move comes two days before a meeting of European interior ministers in the Austrian city of Innsbruck, where German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer wants his far-right Italian counterpart Matteo Salvini to agree to take back migrants who arrive at its borders from Italy.
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