Stranded migrants arrive in Malta after standoff

Blanche Robertson
January 10, 2019

He said that of the total of 298 migrants, 176 would be sent to Germany, France, Portugal, Ireland, Romania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Italy.

The Sea-Watch 3, a vessel run by a German humanitarian group, rescued 32 people from an unsafe boat off the coast of Libya on 22 December.

"An ad hoc agreement has been reached", Muscat told reporters on Wednesday, adding that the deal included a decision on the fate of 249 migrants already in Malta.

Interior Ministry spokesman Steve Alter stressed in Berlin Wednesday that the move for European Union countries to share out numerous 249 migrants already rescued by Maltese military ships - plus 49 who have been stranded aboard private rescue vessels - is "an ad hoc decision. for the current situation".

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

The 224 migrants include some which were among a group of 249 rescued by the AFM over the Christmas period.

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

Celebrations aboard the Sea Watch on Wednesday.

MPs defeat May government over no-deal Brexit
Interested in Brexit? Add Brexit as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Brexit news, video, and analysis from ABC News. Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the main opposition Labour Party, said the delay "has achieved nothing beyond wasting a month".

Some were refusing food to protest the stalemate, and the migrants' physical and psychological health were deteriorating.

Priority will be given to vulnerable people including women and children, according to EU Commissioner for Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos, who welcomed Italy's cooperation but said that a system was needed to avoid such emergency solutions in future.

Mr Avramopoulos said the fact that some of the migrants had to wait at sea for three weeks "is not what the European Union stands for".

He underlined that Europe can't count "on disorganized, ad hoc solutions" to manage such cases, and he called for the long-stalled reform of European Union asylum rules to be concluded. Salvini, who is also interior minister, leads the right-wing, anti-migrant League, one of two coalition parties in Italy's populist government.

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

"We were not the responsible authority, and we were not the nearest safe port" for the two rescue vessels, Mr Muscat said.

The deal means the 49 migrants, who have been stranded on charity-run boats amid a row over who would take them, can now disembark in Malta.

The European Union's border agency Frontex says about 57,000 migrant crossings were detected past year in Spain, double the figure for 2017.

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