Malta gives green light to stranded migrant boats | Eurasia Diary -

25 June, Tuesday

Malta gives green light to stranded migrant boats

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The Maltese government has given permission for two boats stranded since December with 49 migrants aboard to dock in Valletta.

Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat announced the move after agreeing a deal with the European Union, which also covers some 250 migrants already in the country.

The German humanitarian vessel Sea-Watch 3 rescued 32 people near Libya on 22 December and its sister ship, Sea-Eye, collected 17 more on 29 December. They have spent several days off the coast of Malta.

"An ad hoc agreement has been reached," said Muscat. "Of the 249 migrants in Malta and 49 on the boats, 220 will go to other EU states or back to their country of origin."

The migrants will go to eight countries including France, Germany, Portugal and the Netherlands.

Around a dozen countries had said they were prepared to take the 49 people off the boats but Malta insisted on a deal for all 298.

"Malta has never closed its doors and will always remain a haven," said Muscat. "We simply want everyone to go along with the international laws.

"We want to send out a strong signal that this issue must be shared because it is a Europe-wide problem."



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