June 12, 2018 / 2:27 PM / in 2 months

France asks Italy to reconsider position on migrant ship

PARIS (Reuters) - France’s foreign minister asked Itay on Tuesday to reconsider its refusal to take in more than 600 migrants stranded aboard the rescue ship Aquarius near Sicily given the distance the boat would need to travel before getting to a safe port in Spain.

French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian attends a meeting in Paris, France, May 18, 2018. Christophe Petit-Tesson/Pool via Reuters

“The NGOs have said the time to get to Valencia would be too long given the humanitarian situation on board,” Jean-Yves Le Drian told lawmakers. “The boat is at 25 (nautical) miles from the Sicilian coast and 27 (nautical) miles from Malta, we are solemnly asking Italian authorities to reconsider their position.”

(This version of the story corrects distance in paragraph 2)

Reporting by John Irish; editing by Bate Felix

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