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Italy demands countries take responsibility for migrant rescue boats

Friday was marked by a row revolving around Italy’s migration challenge and who should take care of migrants rescued by charity groups off the Italian coast, with Italy pushing the envelope towards countries whose flag was flown by the boats, saying that they should bear some of the responsibility.

The debate broke out as three charity vessels holding almost 1,000 migrants were waiting in Italian waters for over a week for permission from the new rightist government in Rome to dock. Two of the vessels are flying the Norwegian flag and one is flying the German flag. All their requests have been hitherto rejected, they say.

As stated by Italian Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi, who addressed a news conference on Friday, the German-flagged Humanity 1 with 179 people aboard, including more than 100 unaccompanied minors, was heading towards the Sicilian city of Catania.

He said that while the boat would be allowed to stop close to the port and Italy would take charge of those facing health emergencies and the minors, the vessel and the rest of those onboard would then be sent out of territorial waters.

Norway, according to Reuters, did not see eye to eye with Italy on the idea that it should bear some of the responsibility only because two boats hoisted Norwegian flags.

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