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article imageMigrant rescue ship Lifeline to go to Malta: Italy PM

By AFP     Jun 26, 2018 in World

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said Tuesday that the rescue ship Lifeline, stranded for days in the Mediterranean, would go to Malta, while Italy would take in some the hundreds of migrants on board.

"I just got off the phone with (Maltese) Prime Minister (Joseph) Muscat: the NGO ship Lifeline will dock in Malta," Conte said in a statement.

Conte did not specify, however, when the vessel would be allowed to dock in Malta.

The German charity vessel Lifeline rescued over 200 migrants, including children and pregnant women, last Thursday, but has since been moored in the Mediterranean after Italy and Malta initially refused to take it in.

Echoing the hard line of far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, Conte said Lifeline "will be subject to an investigation into its nationality and compliance with the rules of international law by its crew" -- after questions about the ship's legal status were raised.

The decision by Italy and Malta to stop allowing migrant rescue vessels to dock plunged Europe into a political crisis over how to collectively handle the thousands of people fleeing war and misery in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

"Consistent with the key principle of our immigration proposal -- that those who land on the shores of Italy, Spain, Greece or Malta are landing in Europe -- Italy will do its part and welcome some of the migrants who are on board the Lifeline", said Conte.

He did not reveal how many migrants Italy would take in, but expressed his wish that "other European countries would do the same".

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