Salvini says he's told Dutch to deal with Sea-Watch

Interior minister says Rome wrote letter to Netherlands govt

(ANSA) - Rome, January 25 - Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said Friday that Rome has sent a letter to the government of the Netherlands telling it to take charge of the case of a ship run by the Sea-Watch NGO with 47 rescued asylum seekers aboard.
    The vessel has been allowed to enter Italian territorial waters due to bad weather, Italian coast guard sources said Friday.
    "Fifteen minutes ago I sent a letter to the Dutch government in which the it is officially and formally tasked with dealing with this vessel, which flies the Dutch flag, and of the passengers on board," Salvini said. Earlier on Friday fellow Deputy Premier and Labour and Industry Minister Luigi Di Maio said that he thinks the Dutch ambassador to Italy should be summoned over the ship.
    The city of Naples has said it is willing to allow the Sea-Watch ship to dock there.
    But League party leader Salvini ruled this out, saying his policy of refusing access to Italy's ports to NGO-run migrant-rescue ships is not changing. I can't wait to have them arrive, safe and sound, in another European country," Salvini said. "There's no space (for them) in Italy".
    The Netherlands said Friday it would not take in the migrants from NGO rescue ship Sea-Watch 3 as demanded by Italy, De Telegraaf reported.
    "Until there are European accords on structural solutions for the migrants on board the (migrant smuggler) boats, the Netherlands will not take part in ad hoc solutions," said Dutch Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration Mark Harbers, according to De Telegraaf.
    He said "the Netherlands has noted the Italian request, but is not responsible for the Sea-Watch 3".
    Salvini said he was collecting evidence to weigh a police complaint against all the members of the crew of Sea-Watch 3 for favouring clandestine immigration, interior ministry sources said.
    Salvini faces possible prosecution for allegedly kidnapping migrants aboard migrant rescue ship Diciotti in a stand-off with the European Union last year.


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