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10:18 17 July
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France is ready to accept migrants from Aquarius Ship amid standoff with Italy - UPDATED


On June 10, Italy refused to accept Aquarius, carrying migrants rescued in the Mediterranean. French President Emmanuel Macron harshly criticized the decision, angering the Italian side. Rome summoned the French ambassador as a response, APA reports quoting Sputnik.

 

"He (Le Drian) confirmed that the French authorities are ready to support Spain by accepting to France those passengers of Aquarius who meet the criteria for granting the right to asylum after approval from the French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless People (OFPRA)," the French Foreign Ministry reported following a telephone conversation between French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and his Spanish counterpart, Josep Borrell.

 

Italian Prime-Minister Giuseppe Conte confirmed that he would meet with the French President despite the French president Emmanuel Macron slamming earlier Italian government for a "cynical" response to the migrant ship crisis.

 

"One should never give in to the emotion, which is manipulated by some people," Macron told reporters, according to BFMTV broadcaster. 

 

Earlier, Italy, which is pursuing a hard-line policy on immigration, shut its ports to the refugees of Aquarius, saying that Malta was the closest and safest port to accommodate the vessel.

 

The Maltese authorities, in their turn, said the issue was not under their jurisdiction, and only chose to send food to the ship, but denied entry to its ports.

 

The Spanish authorities then said they were ready to let the Aquarius dock in its eastern port.

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