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Left-Wing Mayors Defy Populist Government, Inviting Banned Migrant Delivery Ships to Dock

Left-Wing Mayors Defy Populist Government, Inviting Banned Migrant Delivery Ships to Dock”

However, organizers debated making the long journey that would require another four days at sea in deteriorating weather conditions for the already exhausted migrants.

File Image of MV Aquarius, a search and rescue ship.

Spain has now said it will let the ship dock in the city of Valencia and will give "safe harbour" to the people who are on board.

The new Spanish administration headed by Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez agreed to allow the Aquarius to dock in its eastern port of Valencia, his office said in a statement.

Beau acknowledged that Italy, whose populist new government refused to allow the Aquarius to dock, must not have to "shoulder the burden alone" after taking the brunt of the migrant crisis for years as the main entry point from Africa.

It's not yet clear what Salvini and the new government have in mind, but it's worth remembering that the League's Roberto Maroni was interior minister in 2009 when Italy implemented its nefarious policy of literally pushing boats back to Libya.

The closing of Italy's ports to Aquarius represented the first test of the populist government's rhetoric, and Italy stood firm, despite outcry from the European Union and the United Nations.

Problems for the vessel began when Italy's Matteo Salvini, recently appointed as interior minister as part of a new right-wing government, closed the country's ports to the boat, after promising voters he would crack down on immigration.

The Aquarius, a former North Atlantic fisheries protection ship now used by humanitarian groups SOS Mediterranee and Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders), is seen in December 2017 during a rescue operation in the Mediterranean Sea.

Italy has refused to grant access to another migrant rescue ship right after denying entry to nearly 630 migrants on board the rescue vessel Acquarius, Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said.

In a strongly worded statement, Premier Giuseppe Conte's office said "Italy can not accept hypocritical lessons from countries that on the topic of immigration have always preferred to turn their heads". "Italy is done bending over backwards and obeying, this time THERE IS SOMEONE WHO SAYS NO", he wrote on Twitter followed by the hashtag #closethedoors.

On Tuesday morning, an Italian vessel delivered fresh supplies to the Aquarius as it awaited departure from Maltese waters. The ship has 629 migrants including 123 unaccompanied minors, 11 children and six pregnant women.

Responding to Italy's comments, Malta said it had nothing to do with the rescue operation, leaving the prospect of a diplomatic stand-off between the two European Union allies.

"We call on all involved to contribute to a swift resolution so that the people on board the Aquarius vessel may be safely disembarked as soon as possible". "We need to know who is arriving", a local man, Salvo Cavallaro said, "these 600 people, we don't know who they are".

But the decision to close ports was significant because it showed Italy's willingness to put up a stop sign closer to its border.

Maltese Premier Joseph Muscat accused Italy of violating global norms governing sea rescues and said the government's stance risked "creating a risky situation for all those involved".



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