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Italy's new interior minister threatened to bar rescue ships from docking in the country's ports after Malta refused to take hundreds of migrants, reports say.
Matteo Salvini sent a letter to the Maltese authorities saying he would 'be forced to close Italy's ports' if the 629 migrants saved by the French charity SOS Mediterranee weren't allowed to land at Malta's capital Valletta.
Italy - Ministry - Existence - Letter - Officials
Italy's interior ministry were unable to confirm the existence of the letter and said officials were still trying to confirm the existence of the letter.
Meanwhile a spokesman for the Maltese government said that 'Malta was neither the coordinating nor the competent authority' in the rescue.
SOS - Mediterranee - Passengers - Ship - Aquarius
SOS Mediterranee said the passengers on its ship, the Aquarius, included 400 people who were picked up by the Italian navy, the country's coastguard and private cargo ships and transferred.
The rescue ship's crew pulled 229 migrants from the water or from traffickers' unseaworthy boats on Saturday night, including 123 unaccompanied children and seven pregnant women. 'Our sole...
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