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Rescued migrants to dock in Italy after deal reached – PM

  • 30 Jan 2019

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte says 47 rescued migrants aboard the Sea Watch NGO vessel could finally disembark after Italy and six other countries agreed to take them in.

Migrants react as they rest on board the Sea Watch 3 off the coast of Siracusa, Italy, January 27, 2019. ( Reuters )

Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said 47 migrants who have been blocked at sea off Sicily for almost two weeks on a humanitarian rescue ship will be allowed to come ashore on Wednesday, ending the latest migrant standoff.

"In a few hours, they will begin to disembark," Conte told reporters in Milan.

Italy's populist government, which took office last year, has closed its ports to charity vessels to try to force European Union partners to take a share of those rescued in the Mediterranean.

Portugal's Prime Minister Antonio Costa, Malta's Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, France's President Emmanuel Macron, Spain's Foreign Minister Josep Borrell, Cyprus' President Nicos Anastasiades, Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte attend a news conference during the Southern EU Countries summit at Filoxenia Conference centre in Nicosia, Cyprus January 29, 2019.(Reuters)

EU countries accepting some migrants

The Sea-Watch 3, which is run by a German humanitarian group, has been forced to moor off the coast of Sicily as it waits for a safe port.

Five European countries agreed to accept some of the migrants, Conte said on Tuesday, naming Germany, France, Portugal, Malta and Romania. 

On Wednesday, he said Luxembourg had also offered to accept some of them, and some would remain in Italy.

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