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Italy seeks an axis with Malta, Cyprus and Greece



Giorgia Meloni - Picture by Ansa FotoGiorgia Meloni – Picture by Ansa Foto

After the diplomatic confrontation with Paris over the story of the Ocean Viking ship, Italy is seeking new agreements for the management of migrants.

In recent days, with a joint declaration signed with Malta, Cyprus and Greece, countries of first entry into the Mediterranean, he described the non-respect of the relocation of migrants as “regrettable and disappointing”.

The note reads: “Unfortunately, the number of relocation pledges made by participating Member States represents only a very small fraction of the actual number of irregular arrivals.” The mechanism, the note continues, has proven to be “slow” in releasing pressure on “frontline” countries.

Berlin: “The commitment of NGOs deserves support and gratitude”

Italy’s position is not supported by Spain, but Rome has Germany on its side. Viktor Ebling, German Ambassador to Italy, said on Twitter: “In 2022, more than 1300 people are already dead or missing in the Mediterranean. 12% of the survivors have been rescued by NGOs. They save lives where the “Countries are in short supply. Their humanitarian commitment deserves our gratitude and our support”.

Madrid: “Italy does not respect maritime obligations”

At the end of November, the EU convened a summit of interior ministers on migrants. “Spain cannot support proposals that would give priority to countries that do not respect their obligations in international maritime law and which would be to the detriment of those who, like Spain, respect their international obligations and save lives with public resources”. Thus the spokesperson for the Spanish Minister of the Interior, questioned by Ansa.

In the joint note, Italy, Malta, Cyprus and Greece invite NGOs to “respect” the “international legal framework on search and rescue operations”.

“Each State – he continues – must effectively exercise its jurisdiction and control over ships flying its flag”. The four signatories also believe that a discussion on the coordination of NGOs in compliance with international conventions is “urgent and necessary”: “All flag States assume their responsibilities in accordance with their international obligations”.

Meanwhile, the landings in Italy continue and the government is preparing to put in place new measures which provide for a reduction of NGOs and relocations.

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