Tuesday, 20 August, 2019

Ireland to receive migrants after Malta agreement

A migrant child aboard the Sea Watch vessel A migrant child aboard the Sea Watch vessel
Deanna Wagner | 10 January, 2019, 17:36

A group of 49 migrants that were left stranded on board two NGO-operated rescue vessels disembarked in Malta on Wednesday afternoon.

The Netherlands is one of eight countries which will take in some of the 32 migrants who have been living on a boat since they were rescued from off the coast of Libya almost three weeks ago.

The 49 migrants, including a baby and several children, were rescued while attempting to make the treacherous Mediterranean crossing from North Africa to Europe.

As well as Italy, Germany, France, Portugal, Ireland, Romania, Luxembourg and the Netherlands have agreed to take in some of the group, Muscat said.

Another 78 will be allowed to stay in Malta, and 44 Bangladeshi migrants will be sent back to their country.

The migrants have been stranded off the coast of Malta on two boats since late previous year, with some suffering from dehydration and seasickness.

Alter said eight countries have now indicated their willingness to take in the migrants but talks are ongoing with more.

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"The Italian and Maltese authorities have brazenly undermined the search and rescue system and used people as pawns to negotiate migration policies".

"After 19 days at sea, our guests finally have a safe haven", Sea-Watch tweeted.

Thanking civil society for its support, Sea Watch commented: "Disembarkation can not be subject to negotiations between states at the expense of people".

"We want to express our gratitude to. all cities, federal states and provinces that declared their ports open and their willingness to welcome people".

Mr Muscat welcomed the show of "solidarity and understanding" shown by the European Union nations, and said the transfer of migrants to the eight other countries would begin as soon as possible.

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. He said that Germany still aims to reach "a long-term and sustainable mechanism".