ROME: Malta was on Friday to end the latest standoff between a charity rescue ship in the Mediterranean and Italy’s far-right interior minister by sending a ship to take the migrants to shore.
A sailboat belonging to Italian charity Mediterranea on Thursday rescued 54 people including pregnant women and children off the Libyan coast, but Interior Minister Matteo Salvini vowed not to let them disembark.
Malta will send a coastguard vessel to pick up the migrants and take them to Valetta, the Maltese government said in a statement early Friday.
In return, Italy will take another 54 migrants from Malta as “part of an initiative that promotes a European spirit of cooperation and goodwill between Malta and Italy,” it said.
Salvini accuses NGO rescue vessels of helping smugglers and said they should sail for Valetta after 13 “vulnerable” people were taken from the Alex to Italy’s southern island of Lampedusa, leaving 41 on board.