Meloni with reporters in Abu Dhabi. Government did not hamper rescue of migrants.

Meloni dismisses idea government hampered rescue of migrants


Italian PM Giorgia Meloni dismissed speculation her government hampered rescue operations to save victims of the migrant shipwreck last weekend.

 In a press conference during her visit to Abu Dhabi, Meloni dismissed speculation the government impeded rescue operations. To date, 69 people are confirmed to have died in the shipwreck. Dozens more are missing, feared dead.

“Can there really be anyone who, in good conscience, thinks that the government deliberately let 60 people die?” Meloni said. “Please, let’s be serious”.

She added she was considering holding her next cabinet meeting in Cutro, the town off which the disaster took place. Furthermore, the cabinet-s focus would be migration.

No alert from Frontex

Meloni reiterated the Italian authorities did not get an alert from EU border agency Frontex.  .

“Although dramatic, the situation is simple,” Meloni said. “No emergency signals came from Frontex. Furthermore, the route is not among those covered by non-government organisations and so it has nothing to do with the government’s policies.” This was in reference to a recent decree regulating NGO-run rescue activities.

“Even though we are working to stop illegal migrant flows, we have continued to save all the people.

“This is history. I really do not think there is material to go too far in this way in order to hit someone who is considered an opponent”.

A probe has been opened into whether rescue operations were negligently delayed.

On Saturday, two lawmakers for the Italian Left (Sinistra Italiana) party, Ilaria Cucchi and Nicola Fratoianni, filed petitions. They called on Rome prosecutors to check whether there had been “ministerial provisions preventing the Coast Guard from going out to sea” to save the shipwreck victims. They claim, because of their policies, the government hampered rescue of the migrants.

The government continues to defend the Coast Guard against accusations.

69th victim is a minor

The body of a child aged no more than three was recovered in waters off Steccato di Cutro today. This takes the number of confirmed victims of last Sunday’s migrant-boat disaster to 69.

The child is the 15th minor to have been found dead after the disaster. The body was spotted by a group of volunteers and recovered by the coast guard and the fire brigade.

Between 27 and 47 people are missing feared dead after the shipwreck, according to an estimate made on Friday by the Crotone prefect’s department.

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