Updated 08/23/2019 12:44:43 CET
Rescue boat 'Ocean Viking' by MSF and SOS Mediterranée – HANNAH WALLACE BOWMAN / MSF
France will host 150 of the 356 migrants rescued between August 9 and 12
MADRID, 23 (EUROPE PRESS)
The Maltese Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat, announced on Friday an agreement for the landing on the island of 356 migrants rescued aboard the 'Ocean Viking' under which the Maltese Navy will take them to port and then they will be transferred to another six member states
“After discussions with the European Commission and several member states, mainly France and Germany, Malta has agreed to be part of the solution of the deadlock of the 'Ocean Viking', which has 356 people on board, without prejudice to its legal position” , Muscat has written on his Twitter.
“Malta will transfer these people to ships of the Maltese Armed Forces out of territorial waters and take them ashore,” he said.
According to the Maltese Prime Minister, “all migrants will be transferred to other member states.” Specifically, he said that migrants rescued by the ship of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and SOS Mediterranée between August 9 and 12 will be transferred to France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal and Romania. “None will stay in Malta,” he stressed.
French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner has informed him that 150 of the migrants “will be welcomed in the next few days” by France, which “maintains its solidarity”.
He also thanked the Maltese authorities, especially his counterpart, as well as the European Commissioner for Migration. “Together we have managed to forge a European solution,” he said on his Twitter.
The European Commissioner for Migration, Interior and Citizenship of the EU, Dimitris Avramopoulos, has concluded the agreement and requested that the relocation of migrants be carried out as quickly as possible. “These commitments must be fulfilled and materialized quickly,” he wrote in a message shared on Twitter.
The European Commission has also stressed that this “positive result” is the result of “intense coordination work” on the other hand and the “constructive contacts” that it has maintained throughout these days with the member states involved.
The two NGOs have also celebrated the solution. “After 14 days of unnecessary suffering the 356 people aboard the Ocean Viking will finally disembark in Malta,” MSF said on his Twitter.
“Although some EU states have finally offered a human response to this humanitarian disaster in the Mediterranean, a predictable landing mechanism is already necessary,” said the NGO.
SOS Mediterranée has expressed its “relief” for the solution after “fourteen days of suffering”. “A European and predictable landing mechanism has been promised. It must be put in place,” he said.