New rules of engagement for EU mission - Di Maio

Labour minister comments after Salvini-defence ministry spat on migrant rescues

(ANSA) - Rome, July 9 - Labour and Industry Minister and Deputy Premier Luigi Di Maio on Monday called for new rules of engagement for the European Union's EUNAVFOR Med mission in the Mediterranean. He was commenting after differences over migrant rescues emerged on Sunday between Interior Minister Matteo Salvini and the defence ministry.
    Salvini, who is also a deputy premier and the leader of the rightwing League party, called for the closure of Italian ports to vessels engaged in international missions in the Mediterranean after an Irish navy ship took 106 rescued asylum seekers to Messina at the weekend.
    A defence ministry source said that this decision was not Salvini's competence.
    Salvini has spearheaded the new League-5-Star Movement government's tough stance on migration, which has seen access to Italian ports denied to NGO vessels rescuing asylum seekers at sea.
    "For as long as the EUNAVFOR Med mission is standing, the only ports (open to it) are the Italian ones," Di Maio told Radio 1.
    "But our aim is to change the rules of engagement of the mission".