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Italy Summons French Envoy After Macron Blasts Refusal to Accept Migrant Ship

629 migrants were stranded on the high sees before Spain stepped in to take the ship, which was refused by both Italy and Malta.

SOS Mediterranee and Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF), co-operating the Aquarius, are both well-known French charities.

Italy's rejection of a migrant ship is shameful but the responsibility lies with Europe as a whole, United Nations refugee chief Filippo Grandi told Reuters on Wednesday.

How Europe should share the responsibility of handling migrants trying to get into the bloc from war zones and poor countries, largely across Africa and the Middle East, remains a vexed question.

Meanwhile Finance Minister Giovanni Tria announced that he would cancel an official visit to Paris, though his French counterpart Bruno Le Maire later said the two had agreed to reschedule their talks.

"Europe must stick together", she said, acknowledging Italy's concern that it had taken in many migrants but fellow European Union countries were not showing sufficient solidarity.

The move comes hours after Italy summoned the French ambassador to the foreign ministry in Rome. "After the refusal of Malta to allow the people aboard the Aquarius to disembark there, we received an unprecedented gesture of solidarity from Spain".

But Italy's foreign minister, Enzo Moavero, kept up the barrage by telling a French envoy that Macron's comments were "unjustifiable" and had compromised bilateral relations. At the moment the conditions (for the meeting) don't exist.

Under the EU's asylum laws - now the subject of revision amid a major political dispute - migrants must apply for asylum in the country where they first enter Europe.

Salvini insisted Tuesday that the country's ports would no longer be open to foreign boats carrying migrants. "We hope this meeting can take place very soon".

Amid mounting cross-party concern that German asylum policy is in disarray, Seehofer, of the Bavarian conservative CSU party, met Austria's chancellor, Sebastian Kurz. Justice Minister Dolores Delgado said that Italy may have violated global humanitarian law, while Ximo Puig, president of the Valencia region, commented: "Turning this into a political weapon is despicable.it is clear that Europe must act more wisely, but we can not let these people die at sea".

Refugees have continued to arrive as politicians trade blame.

On Wednesday morning, an Italian coast guard vessel with 937 migrants aboard docked in Catania, Sicily, as the Aquarius headed into increasingly rough seas on its way to Valencia, where it is due to arrive on Saturday.

A Dutch-flagged humanitarian ship, the Sea Watch 3, was called by a U.S. Navy vessel to take on board 41 survivors and 12 bodies recovered after a shipwreck on Tuesday.

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