First group of mi­grants from MV Aquarius de­parts for France

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

Yes­ter­day morn­ing, the first group of im­mi­grants who dis­em­barked in Malta from aboard the MV Aquarius on 15 Au­gust de­parted Malta to be relocated in France.

The im­mi­grants were as­sisted by the In­ter­na­tional Of­fice of Mi­gra­tion Au­thor­i­ties, lo­cal au­thor­i­ties, of­fi­cials from the French home af­fairs min­istry as well au­thor­i­ties from the French em­bassy in Malta.

Deputy Am­bas­sador Vanessa Salas Pouget – who was present at the air­port – said that this re­lo­ca­tion ef­fort rep­re­sented a prime ex­am­ple of how Euro­pean sol­i­dar­ity could achieve re­sults to rapidly re­solve cases re­quir­ing timely solutions to ad­dress hu­man­i­tar­ian ur­gen­cies. She em­pha­sised that this group of im­mi­grants could now look for­ward to a safe life in France.

All 141 im­mi­grants who ar­rived in Malta aboard the MV Aquarius will be relocated to France, Ger­many, Italy, Lux­em­bourg, Por­tu­gal, and Spain.

The re­lo­ca­tion ar­range­ment was part of an ad hoc sol­i­dar­ity agree­ment in re­sponse to the hu­man­i­tar­ian cri­sis aboard the ves­sel which emerged fol­low­ing dis­cus­sions be­tween France and Malta and a num­ber of other EU mem­ber states with the sup­port of the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion.

On 15 Au­gust Malta made a con­ces­sion al­low­ing the ves­sel to en­ter its ports, de­spite hav­ing no le­gal obli­ga­tion to do so. Fur­ther­more, Malta served as a lo­gis­ti­cal base through­out the cri­sis.

On 13 Au­gust Malta had also res­cued a fur­ther 114 per­sons at sea, 60 of whom will also be dis­trib­uted among other mem­ber states as part of the joint EU co­op­er­a­tion.

This is the sec­ond time such a vol­un­tary sol­i­dar­ity mech­a­nism has been put into place, fol­low­ing that re­lat­ing to the hu­man­i­tar­ian cri­sis re­lat­ing to the MV Life­line.

All coun­tries ex­cept Italy have hon­oured the pledges com­mit­ted in the ad hoc sol­i­dar­ity mech­a­nism cre­ated to ad­dress the sit­u­a­tion of the MV Life­line.

Italy had threat­ened to re­nege on that agree­ment when the lat­est mi­grant stand­off – the one in­volv­ing the coast guard ship Di­ciotti – took place.

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