June 11, 2018 / 2:12 PM / 8 months ago

Italy claims 'victory' after Spain offers to take in migrant ship

Interior Minister Matteo Salvini gestures as he arrives at the Italian Business Association Confcommercio meeting in Rome, Italy, June 7, 2018. REUTERS/Tony Gentile

ROME (Reuters) - Italy said on Monday that Spain’s offer to take in a migrant rescue ship drifting in the Mediterranean vindicated Rome’s decision to prevent it docking in Italian ports and showed the new government’s tough line on immigration was paying off.

“Victory!” tweeted Matteo Salvini, deputy prime minister and leader of the far-right League, after the offer from Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez to admit the ship carrying 629 migrants to the port of Valencia.

“To politely raise one’s voice pays off; it’s something Italy hasn’t done for many years,” Salvini, who in his role as interior minister is leading the crackdown on immigration, said at a news conference.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte also welcomed Spain’s move, saying on Facebook that Italy was “no longer alone”, and adding that the goal was now to make the European Union rules on asylum “fairer for everybody.”

Reporting By Gavin Jones, editing by Steve Scherer

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