Italy asks Montenegro and Serbia to take in migrants

Italy asks Montenegro and Serbia to take in migrants

Italy asks Montenegro and Serbia to take in migrants Izvor: Ilustracija, REUTERS/Antonio Parrinello/File Photo

The Montenegrin government has still not discussed Italy's request that Montenegro take in some of the migrants from the Diciotti patrol vessel anchored in the port city of Catania on Sicily, but could discuss it at its regular session on Thursday, the local media reported.

"The Italian Embassy in Podgorica has contacted the Foreign Ministry with regard to the possible reception of some of the migrants who have arrived aboard the Diciotti. The Montenegrin authorities have still not taken a position on that request, and are about to discuss it," said Montenegro government spokesman Srdjan Kusovac.

Italian authorities have asked Montenegro to take in some of the migrants who on Sunday left the vessel, after the authorities had kept them on it for three days.

Italian media have reported that Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, who leads the right-wing Lega Nord party, has thanked Albania for saying it was willing to take in 20 out of about 140 migrants who were aboard the Diciotta for days. However, Italy has also contacted Montenegro and Serbia, asking that they take in some of the migrants as well.

The Italian coast guard ship Diciotti had rescued a total of 190 migrants on August 16 and docked at Catania, only for the Italian government to refuse permission for them to disembark before other European countries agree to take them in.

The migrants were allowed to leave the vessel on the night between late Saturday and early Sunday, after the Roman Catholic Church had agreed to take in most of them, while Albania, a non-EU member, and Ireland, said that they would each take in about 20 persons off the ship.

Hundreds of thousands of migrants have arrived in Italian ports in recent years, and the new government, which includes Salvini, is demanding that other EU member countries take in migrants in order to distribute them across the EU more evenly.

Since 2014 Italy has taken in around 640,000 migrants, and currently cares for 170,000 migrants, mostly from Africa.

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