Italy holds cabinet meeting in shipwreck area for migrants


MILAN, March 4 (Reuters) – Italy’s government will hold a cabinet meeting near the southern coastal city where dozens of bodies washed ashore after a migrant ship broke up on rocks last month, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said on Saturday.

Speaking to reporters in Abu Dhabi after meeting UAE President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan to discuss migration flows, among other issues, Meloni dismissed allegations that her government had failed to act to prevent the incident.

She also rejected opposition calls for Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi to resign.

“Frankly, they are asking for a different minister to resign every day,” she said.

Right-wing Meloni was criticized for not traveling to the site of the shipwreck in the southern region of Calabria, which was instead visited by President Sergio Mattarella.

Asked if she has plans to visit the area, Meloni said the government will soon hold a cabinet meeting there to discuss migration issues.

“The best thing we can do to honor the victims is to look at what can be done to prevent something like this from happening again,” she said.

The recent shipwreck has intensified a debate over migration in Europe and Italy, where the Meloni government’s tough new laws on aid agencies to rescue migrants have drawn criticism from the UN and others.

Also read: Italy’s new government questions the law of the sea

Meloni has urged other European leaders to do more to stop illegal immigration and prevent further tragedies at sea.

“I don’t think a single day has gone by since I became prime minister that I haven’t worked on this issue…amid a general disinterest on the part of others,” she said.

(Reporting by Valentina ZaEdit by Helen Popper)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2023.

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