Di Maio praises Malta agreement for redistribution of migrant, now it’s necessary to halt departures

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NEW YORK, SEPTEMBER 23 – “Today is an important day for Italy in regards to the immigration crisis. I am pleased and I offer my compliments to Minister Luciana Lamorgese for the agreement reached in Malta for the redistribution of migrants in other European countries”, said in a press meeting in New York the Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio, currently at the Headquarters for the United Nation’s Climate Summit and General Assembly. However Di Maio specified that “redistribution is not the solution to the problem”. In the next few days he will be attending numerous meetings with North African colleagues, representatives of the United Nations and other international organizations to further discuss best practices to address the crisis.

At a meeting in Malta on Monday, interior ministers from France, Germany, Italy and Malta agreed on a joint proposal for a “temporary emergency mechanism” to relocate asylum-seekers rescued in the Central Mediterranean and end the plight of people being stranded indefinitely on rescue boats. Details of the proposal have not been made public, but it will reportedly be presented to the EU’s other interior ministers at a meeting in Luxembourg in October. The discussions came as 182 people aboard the Ocean Viking prepared to disembark in the Italian port of Messina. The text calls for the redistribution of all asylum seekers, and not just those who have been granted refugee status, Di Maio said: “This way Italy will not be alone any more in handling of migrants. We furthermore all agree as EU countries that we must act to halt departures and most importantly enforce voluntary and assisted repatriation agreements with countries facing stable conditions.” In this context, the stabilization of Libya is crucial.

“We are all conscious of the critical situation in Libya. Italy continues to recognize the legitimacy of the government of Mr. Sarraj, but also recognized Cyrenaica as interlocutor and we believe that all authorities recognized by the population should meet in dialogue to reach a political solution,” said Di Mario: “There is no solution to the Libyan crisis that calls for the use of force”. Both at the Libya conference to be held at the UN next Friday and at the Berlin Conference scheduled in a few weeks, countries must speak with a unique voice: “Nobody must try to take a leap forward which can only damage the Libyan situations”. Libya is not only an issue because of migration, “it can further present a problem tied to terrorism, other than representing a significant issue for commerce”.

Today, Di Maio met with the Director General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) António Vitorino. It was the occasion for Italy to reaffirm its support for IOM, a pivotal partner in the handling of migration related phenomena. Di Maio underlined the urgent need for a more efficient and structured solidarity among EU countries regarding migrants and reminded of the fundamental contribution given by OIM for the reduction of Mediterranean fluxes and reduction of deaths at sea and in the fights against human traffickers. (SB@OnuItalia)