Czech Not Taking Refugees

More food and drink has been sent to a pair of military ships off Sicily as Italy waited for other European nations to pledge to take some of the hundreds of migrants on board before allowing them to step on to Italian soil. Germany, Spain and Portugal each agreed to accept 50 of the migrants, following similar offers by France and Malta on Saturday, Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte said. But the Czech Republic rebuffed the appeal, calling the distribution plan a “road to hell”.

Italian interior minister Matteo Salvini has vowed to prohibit further disembarking in Italy of migrants who were rescued while crossing the Mediterranean unless the burden is shared by other EU countries. Salvini, who leads the right-wing League party in Italy’s populist coalition government, told reporters Sunday the “aim was for brotherly re-distribution” of the 450 rescued passengers on the two military ships.

Conte contacted fellow EU leaders Saturday, asking them to take some of the rescued migrants. But Czech prime minister Andrej Babis tweeted that his country “won’t take any migrants”, dismissing Italy’s approach as a “road to hell” that would encourage more migrant smuggling.