Since yesterday, Italy is not alone anymore in this humanitarian emergency in the Mediterranean Sea. The meeting with Matteo Renzi; lady Pesc, Federica Mogherini ; and the UN General Secretary, Ban Ki Moon, was decisive. The three leaders visited San Giusto ship, which is the icon of the rescue missions led by Rome and, in some way, the abandon of the international community. The UN secretary arrived in Rome yesterday because he was convinced of the need of EU countries to be involved in sheltering refugees, not just during disembarkation as decided in Dublin III. Concerning the strategy to stop traffickers, Ban does not approve a military mission on Libyan coasts, and Italy is favorable to a mission of ‘international officers’. Nevertheless, at the end of the day, they reached an agreement. “UN are ready to work with you. We have to stop and prevent criminal traffickers, a political solution is needed” announced Ban, he changed a bit Renzi’s request; the Italy PM did underline that in order to stop traffickers, Italy counts on UN support.
This support is necessary since there is no unitary state in Libya. Today in New York, Mongherini showed the first points her dossier, but no one has mentioned military missions on Libyan coasts (Italy describes it as international police operation). During the meeting in Rome, she highlighted one point in her dossier that could convince the UN. The boat that sank last April 19th, was empty when it left from Egypt and migrants embarked in Libya, sequestering the boat before the embarkation would have avoided this tragedy.
Hence, Italy and UN seem to be near to an agreement. During the last few days, migration became an European matter of interest, “Italy cannot do it on its own”. Renzi declaimed it and Ban supported him, as he was stroke by the visit to the ship that rescued migrants. Meanwhile, Italy is getting ready to face the rescue emergency with five ships, helicopters and planes to patrol the area, which are going to be used for anti-terrorism operation as well.
Now, everyone is waiting for an EU action led by UN. The UN support against traffickers is very important for Italy. “Italy has a big heart, and it is making a huge effort, but the Mediterranean Sea is a European and Global problem” sai the President of the Council. In the next few days, it will be possible to see whether his message will reach the UN Security Council or not.
Translation provided by Mary Ann D’Costa