Four EU countries to take rescued migrants after Med standoff

Remigio Civitarese
Апреля 14, 2019

Ending a standoff over immigration, Malta on Saturday announced a deal to distribute 64 migrants rescued at sea off Libya 10 days ago among four European Union nations.

Instead, the rescued migrants were transferred to a Maltese military vessel, which took them to the Maltese capital Valetta.

The migrants will head to France, Germany, Portugal and Luxembourg after they were stranded at sea for nearly two weeks. The ship, which is operated by the German NGO Sea-Eye, was denied permission to land in Malta and Italy, whose coalition government has closed its ports to humanitarian ships since last June.

"Once again the smallest member of the European Union was put under unnecessary pressure, being asked to resolve a case which was neither its responsibility nor its remit", the Maltese government stated.

Malta has argued it can not open its ports to humanitarian rescue ships because their activities off the coast of lawless Libya have encouraged human traffickers.

"I confirmed that France, like Germany and several other European partners, will show solidarity and welcome the refugees aboard the Alan Kurdi, allowing them to disembark at Valletta", Castaner tweeted.

"It is simply not explainable why it was necessary for people to stay on board during the long negotiations while governments negotiated 64 individual fates", said Gorden Isler, Chairman of Sea-Eye.

Migrants on a rubber dinghy are approached by Sea-Watch rescue ship's staffers in the waters off Libya Wednesday, April 3, 2019.

Two migrants had already been evacuated to Malta after falling ill on the German ship, named after the three-year old boy who drowned as his family fled the conflict in Syria.

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