Ministers ‘agree to protect Italy from migrant influx’

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Rome, July 10 (IANS/AKI) Italy’s populist Premier Giuseppe Conte, hardline Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, Welfare and Economic Development Minister Luigi Di Maio and Finance Minister Giovanni Tria on Monday reportedly agreed to back measures aimed at easing the pressure put on the country by the migrant influx.

The ministers agreed to oppose the secondary movement of migrants to Italy, to buttress its external borders and to demand a “meaningful” relocation of asylum-seekers to other European countries, according to sources.

At the meeting here, the ministers also agreed to support the stabilisation of conflict-wracked Libya and to “review” the terms of the international missions in which Italy takes part, especially the automatic delivery of rescued migrants to the country’s ports, according to the sources.

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On Tuesday, “technical” talks will take place on immigration and on Wednesday, Salvini will have further talks with Conte to agree on government proposals to be unveiled at a meeting of European Union Interior Ministers in Innsbruck on Thursday and Friday – the first under held under the new Austrian EU presidency.

Although boat migrant arrivals have dived 80 percent so far this year compared with the same period of 2017, more than 700,000 migrants have entered Italy since 2014 and Salvini has called for half a million illegal immigrants to be deported.

Salvini has vowed that only pregnant women, children and refugees will be allowed to stay in Italy. He has already banned boats operated by charities from entering Italian ports and wants to bar all international rescue ships.

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–IANS/AKI

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