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Germany to stay in EU's Mediterranean migrant rescue mission says Conte

SECURITY
Germany to stay in EU's Mediterranean migrant rescue mission says Conte

Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel has told Italy's premier Giuseppe Conte that her country will keep taking part in the European Union's migrant search and rescue operation in the Mediterranean, Conte said on Wednesday.


"Chancellor Merkel has confirmed to me that Germany does not wish to withdraw from the Sophia mission," Conte said at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Conte said he underlined to Merkel Italy's position that the mission's operational rules need to be changed. The rules currently require all rescued migrants to be landed at Italian ports.

"This is unacceptable because we have already said that we want responsibility for the landings to be fully shared," Conte stated.

"I said that we want to work in this direction," he said.

"The (Sophia) operation is potentially important, indeed strategic," he added.

Germany said on Tuesday it would stop taking part in Sophia due to the populist Italian government's ongoing closure of its ports to rescued migrants and its unwillingness to take in any more, according to several media outlets.

Currently commanded by Italian Rear Admiral Enrico Credentino, Sophia's core mandate is to help the EU smash migrant smuggling networks.

Headquartered in Rome, the mission was launched on 22 June 2015.



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