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Migrants remain at sea as Italy-Malta standoff intensifies

Migrants remain at sea as Italy-Malta standoff intensifies

Salvini has accused the charities of acting as a "taxi service" for the migrants.

"Malta takes in nobody".

Beau acknowledged that Italy, whose populist new government refused to allow the Aquarius to dock, must not have to "shoulder the burden alone" after taking the brunt of the migrant crisis for years as the main entry point from Africa.

The row has triggered worldwide concern about the migrants' plight.

Salvini said Malta should accept the vessel. "It is our obligation to avoid a human catastrophe and offer a safe haven to these people, fulfilling that way the obligations of worldwide law", his government said in a statement.

"All 629 people rescued in Mediterranean are unaware of ongoing diplomatic standoff", MSF tweeted on Monday.

Malta's Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said in a tweet that "Malta is going to send fresh supplies to the ship".

The Aquarius was denied the right to dock in Italy and Malta.

Anelise praised the teams of staff on the vessel: "The teams here are very calm, they say the situation is under control and we continue heading north towards the east part of Malta and towards Italy".

Mr Salvini said on Sunday Italy was saying "no to human trafficking, no to the business of illegal immigration".

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Macron is due Friday to receive new Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte ahead of a European Council meeting later this month when migration is set to be high on the agenda.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, who took office just over a week ago, has given instructions for the boat to be admitted to the eastern port of Valencia, his office said in a statement.

Echoing similar calls by the United Nations and the bloc's biggest member state Germany, Schinas added: "For the commission there is first and foremost a humanitarian imperative, we are talking about people".

Salvini refused to back down. "Saving lives is a duty, but transforming Italy into an enormous refugee camp isn't". "Italy has stopped bowing its head and obeying, this time THERE IS SOMEONE WHO SAYS NO. #chiudiamoiporti (#weareclosingtheports)", Salvini wrote on Twitter, as quoted by the Ansa news agency.

In a statement issued Monday, the International Chamber of Shipping warned that refusing port access to vessels like the Aquarius could have "serious implications for the safety and welfare of these distressed people, including children and pregnant women".

The passengers had been rescued in six different operations, according to SOS Mediterranée.

There are an estimated 629 migrants on boat the Aquarius, including 123 unaccompanied minors and seven pregnant women.

By Saturday morning, SOS Mediterránée rescue team had saved from drowning 229 migrants who were in two paters, one of which broke.

Some in Italy have offered to take in migrants. However "in a situation of danger to human life, the priority always has to be to save human lives", she added.

European Union law requires that asylum seekers register in the first safe country they reach, but frontline countries such as Italy and Malta have said the burden needs to be shared out across the bloc.

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