Mi­grants on Ger­man NGO ship al­lowed to dis­em­bark in Malta

Global Times US Edition - - WORLD -

Malta said it has au­tho­rized 40 mi­grants aboard a res­cue ship run by Ger­man NGO Sea-eye to dis­em­bark fol­low­ing an agree­ment reached among sev­eral EU coun­tries to take them in.

The deal was an­nounced after the mi­grants on the Alan Kurdi ship, res­cued on Wed­nes­day off Libya, had been barred from land­ing in Italy.

Italy’s far-right In­te­rior Min­is­ter Mat­teo Salvini has taken a hard line against mi­grants en­ter­ing the coun­try.

The mi­grants will ar­rive in the Mal­tese cap­i­tal Valletta later Sun­day, the Mal­tese gov­ern­ment said late Satur­day.

The Ger­man gov­ern­ment and the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion made ar­range­ments for the mi­grants to be shared among sev­eral EU coun­tries, it said.

None of the 40 mi­grants will re­main in Malta and the Alan Kurdi – named after a Syr­ian tod­dler who drowned in the Mediter­ranean Sea – will stay in in­ter­na­tional wa­ters as they dis­em­bark.

The gov­ern­ment gave no in­di­ca­tion which coun­tries had agreed to take them in. But Por­tu­gal said on Satur­day that it was pre­pared to ac­cept five of those on board, and that France, Ger­many and Lux­em­bourg had of­fered to take oth­ers.

On Thurs­day, Salvini said that the Ger­man gov­ern­ment had told the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion that un­less the 40 mi­grants on­board the Alan Kurdi were al­lowed to dis­em­bark in Italy it would not take in a group of 30 mi­grants it had al­ready promised to ac­cept.

“This is real black­mail,” said Salvini. “It con­firms that other Euro­pean coun­tries con­sider Italy as their refugee camp, but things have changed and we no longer ac­cept or­ders and in­va­sions.”

Dur­ing its last ro­ta­tion off Libya in early July, the Alan Kurdi res­cued 109 mi­grants and dis­em­barked them in Malta. Mean­while an­other hu­man­i­tar­ian ship, Open Arms, was look­ing for a port to dis­em­bark 121 mi­grants.

The Span­ish NGO Proac­tiva Open Arms had res­cued 55 mi­grants off Libya on Thurs­day, and then took on a sec­ond group of 69 the next day.

Two preg­nant women and the sis­ter of one of them were al­lowed to dis­em­bark in Italy for med­i­cal rea­sons, while the oth­ers re­main on board the ship which is barred from en­ter­ing Ital­ian ter­ri­to­rial wa­ters.

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