Richard Gere says Italy’s far-right leader Salvini is a ‘Baby Trump’


This grab from a video taken by Local Team shows Spanish humanitarian ship Open Arms arriving off the island of Lampedusa on 15 August 2019 with 147 migrants on board, after a judge in Rome suspended far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini's decree banning them from Italy's territorial waters.

The closest Spanish ports - on the Balearic Islands of Menorca and Mallorca - are some 1,000 kilometres from where the Open Arms is now anchored, off the coast of Lampedusa.

European Union states disagree on how to handle the migrants crossing the Mediterranean and some like Italy are taking a tougher position, turning away rescue ships as they seek to dock to drop off rescued people.

"After a 26-day mission, 17 days waiting with 134 people on board, a judicial resolution in our favor and six countries willing to take in [the migrants], they want us to sail 900 miles, five days more, to Algeciras, the most distant port in the Mediterranean?"

"If an agreement has indeed been reached, it's essential for Italy and Spain to take responsibility for ensuring, by providing the necessary means, that these people finally disembark at a safe harbor", the organisation said in a statement. Articles appear on for a limited time.

On Sunday, Spain offered one of its ports for the migrants to come ashore, but Open Arms said it would be absurd to undertake another long journey with the migrants, many of whom have been onboard for almost three weeks. The fate of the other migrants still aboard the Open Arms off Lampedusa remained uncertain.

Several crew members of the ship swam after them and brought them back into the vessel.

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Senior officials there believe widespread checks will be necessary as current plans to avoid them will prove "unsustainable". There would likely be some form of hard border imposed on the island of Ireland, the document implied.

More than 100 migrants remain on board the Spanish rescue ship Open Arms.

The summer government crisis that shook Italy last week has provided a window of opportunity for the battered Italian left to clinch a governing alliance with the populist Five Star Movement, derailing plans by League's leader Matteo Salvini to push the country to early polls.

Italy's Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli on Sunday offered the Open Arms a coastguard escort to Spain which he thanked for their offer to take the boat "even if too many days late".

For days, Open Arms has been anchored off Lampedusa, a fishing and vacation island between Sicily and northern Africa. "In Italy there's no place for traffickers". "What they need is to be disembarked now", an Open Arms spokeswoman said.

However, Spain's offer has so far been declined by the ship.

In a separate tweet, Camps blasted Salvini of exploiting the lives of migrants for political gain.

On Saturday though, Salvini made a partial concession by allowing 27 minors to leave the boat, saying he agreed at the insistence of Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. Salvini said on Sunday that eight of those youths insisted they were adults after setting foot on Lampedusa. Salvini is seeking to end Conte's populist coalition with a no-confidence vote and early election that Salvini hopes will give him the premiership.