Malta to allow migrant rescue ship to dock, ending standoff

CASTILLE, Malta- On Wednesday the humanitarian ship had about 230 rescued migrants on board for almost a week will enter a Maltese port on Wednesday, ending a standoff with Italy which refused to let the ship dock.

Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said seven European Union countries have offered their help to share the burden of the migrants with Malta. The Lifeline ship, operated by German charity Mission Lifeline, was due to dock at around 1600 GMT.

Migration has become and increasingly divisive political issue, with many EU countries taking a hard-line against immigration, this was especially seen with Italy new government, which has taken a far-right anti- migration stance.

“Lifeline will be granted permission to enter a Maltese port, where procedures for identification, ascertaining their asylum eligibility, and distribution to other member states will start immediately,” Muscat told reporters.

He added emphasising that the small island nation was actually not legally bound to take in the ship, “The Maltese government took the lead on a solution before the situation escalated to a humanitarian crisis,”

The Lifeline was the second charity ship that Italy has shut out of its ports this month, main reason is new anti-immigrant Interior Minister Matteo Salvini who has said that private rescue vessels will no longer be welcome because they “cannot dictate Italy’s immigration policy”.

Video Credit- Aljazeera-YouTube

Photo Credit- Reuters

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