Italy Threatens To Close Its Ports As Migrant Situation Spirals Out Of Control

REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi

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Jacob Bojesson Foreign Correspondent
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Italy has threatened to close its ports for foreign ships as the migrant situation in the Mediterranean sea has become “unsustainable.”

More than 77,000 migrants have arrived in Italy so far in 2017, an increase of 14 percent compared to 2016. The government is now accusing the European Union of “looking the other way” instead of offering support.

“Italy has reached saturation point,” an unnamed government source told Reuters. “The idea of blocking humanitarian ships flying foreign flags from returning to Italian ports has been discussed.”

Maurizio Massari, Italy’s ambassador to the EU, launched an official complaint Wednesday during a meeting with EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos.

“The ambassador highlighted that Italy’s efforts have been enormous and well beyond international obligations, and under the current circumstances it is difficult for our authorities to allow further disembarkations of migrants,” an Italian diplomat told German news agency DPA.

Rome’s mayor Virginia Raggi recently called on the government to place a moratorium on migrant arrivals in the capital, calling the current situation “impossible.” (RELATED: Mayor Of Rome Calls For Immigration Restrictions)

“I find it impossible, as well as risky, to think up further accommodation structures,” Raggi said in a letter to the government.

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