Boat carrying over 900 migrants docks in Italy

Italy summons French envoy as migration row escalates

Economy Minister Giovanni Tria spoke with his French counterpart after cancelling his meeting, a French finance ministry official said, and both agreed to reschedule their session in coming days.

The Aquarius has no showers or sinks for migrants on the ship, and the rescue workers rely on disinfectant spray to use for people's hands before their meals.

SOS Mediterranee, the aid group that operates the Aquarius, said Thursday the Italian coast guard boat leading the convoy chose to skirt Sardinia's east coast after high waves caused exhausted migrants aboard to be seasick.

"We have nothing to learn about generosity, voluntarism, welcoming, and solidarity from anyone", far-right Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini told the Senate.

Two Italian naval vessels are escorting the ship to Spain after the Socialist government of new Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez offered the Aquarius safe harbour Monday.

It comes amid an ongoing diplomatic row after several countries failed to live up to a 2015 pledge to take some asylum seekers from Italy and Greece, which have become the first port of call for most migrants entering Europe.

After a nerve-wracking stand-off and intense negotiations, 629 people rescued in the Mediterranean Sea by the Aquarius, a rescue ship run by two nongovernmental groups, SOS MEDITERRANEE and MSF, are finally heading towards Spain.

France tried to take a more conciliatory tone on Wednesday.

"There has to be a system to share more equitably the responsibility of allowing this boat to dock and then to go through the process of determining who's a refugee and who's not", Grandi said. The port is some 1,500 kilometres (930 miles) from where the ship had been on standby since Saturday night.

French President Emmanuel Macron attends the "prise d'armes" military ceremony at the Invalides in Paris, France, June 11, 2018.

A Dutch-flagged humanitarian ship, the Sea Watch 3, was called by a U.S. Navy vessel to take on board 41 survivors and 12 bodies recovered after a shipwreck on Tuesday.

"Europe must stick together", she said, acknowledging Italy's concern that it had taken in many migrants but fellow European Union countries were not showing sufficient solidarity.

Macron and new Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte were scheduled to meet in Paris on Friday, but Italian news agency ANSA said Wednesday the meeting might be postponed because the conditions weren't right.

Earlier in the day, the Italian Foreign Ministry said it had summoned the French ambassador to complain that the French comments about the Aquarius were "unacceptable".

Under the EU's asylum laws - now the subject of revision amid a major political dispute - migrants must apply for asylum in the country where they first enter Europe. However, the source added that Macron was not "taking back anything".

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