Stranded migrants arrive in Malta after standoff

11 January, 2019, 17:50 | Author: Carlos George
  • The Sea Watch 3 is a vessel run by a German humanitarian group

Germany, France, Portugal, the Netherlands, Ireland, Romania, Luxembourg, and Italy agreed to share 224 migrants, with Malta taking 74.

Malta last week allowed the boats to shelter near its coasts from the bad weather but would not let them disembark the migrants.

The two ships were stranded at sea for awhile after Italy, Malta and all other European Union countries refused to offer them a port of safety, said Reuters.

A ship operated by German rescue group Sea-Watch picked up 32 people on December 22.

The situation on board both ships was said in recent days to be deteriorating, with food and water running short.

The pontiff told crowds gathered in St. Peter's Square on Sunday, quote, "i make a heartfelt appeal to European leaders to show concrete solidarity for these people", end quote.

The EC is expecting to reach an agreement between nine European countries to solve some 249 others who arrived in December 2018, something to which Spain gave the go-ahead, but recalled that it has already received more than 300 migrants rescued by a national NGO, which is still off the coast of Libya.

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The numbers reaching Spain have surged as Italy's crackdowns on private rescue vessels caused the number of boats and migrants heading across the central Mediterranean toward Italian shores to drop sharply.

Alter said eight countries have now indicated their willingness to take in the migrants but talks are ongoing with more. "It is in our nature to assist those in distress but as prime minister I can not shirk responsibility of safeguarding our national security and national interest". In addition, the countries will also take in numerous 249 migrants already in Malta. The remainder, including 44 Bangladeshis, will be sent home.

"The migrants will be transferred ship to ship", the government's press officer told Euronews.

Italy's populist government split over the fate of those aboard Sea-Watch 3 and another private vessel, Sea-Eye, with Premier Giuseppe Conte saying that Italy was willing to take children and their parents, even as Mr Salvini remained defiant.

Following Wednesday's deal, Italy's far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini accused the European Commission of "facilitating the work of smugglers and NGOs".

"I am and remain absolutely contrary to new arrivals in Italy", he said. "Giving in to the pressures and threats of Europe and NGOs is a sign of weakness".

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