A migrant reads verses of the Quran aboard the Open Arms Spanish humanitarian boat as it arrives near Lampedusa coast in the Mediterranean Sea, Thursday, Aug.15, 2019. A Spanish aid boat with 147 rescued migrants aboard is anchored off a southern Italian island as Italy's ministers spar over their fate. (AP Photo/Francisco Gentico)

Italy's Salvini caves on minors aboard migrant ship

August 17, 2019 - 6:08 am

ROME (AP) — Italy's hard-line interior minister appeared to buckle under pressure to ease the standoff over a migrant rescue ship with 134 people aboard, saying he would allow minors to disembark after being at sea for two weeks.

Premier Giuseppe Conte wrote a three-page letter Saturday to Interior Minister Matteo Salvini demanding that minors be allowed off the boat. Salvini said he would do so but made clear it was Conte's choice and that it didn't set a precedent.

Spanish aid group Open Arms had rescued the migrants in the Mediterranean near Libya two weeks ago, and its ship has been off Italy waiting to dock.

Open Arms chief Oscar Camps warned Saturday that the group couldn't guarantee the safety of the migrants anymore, as tensions were rising and fights breaking out.