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Rescue ship migrants to be split among 5 EU countries

Staff Writer |
Five EU countries have agreed to split the responsibility for 141 migrants on a rescue ship that was recently allowed to dock in Malta, an EU Commission spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Tove Ernst said France, Spain, Germany, Portugal, and Luxembourg agreed to split the migrants from the rescue ship, Aquarius, among themselves.

According to a statement by the Elysee Palace, France will take 60 migrants.

"Concrete European cooperation enacted on the #Aquarius, based on a French-Maltese initiative. I thank Malta for its humanitarian gesture and assure it of the full solidarity of France. There is no alternative to cooperation," French President Emmanuel Macron said on his Twitter account.

Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez also announced on his Twitter account the country will take 60 migrants, stating that solidarity and cooperation between the European countries shows the way to "face challenges such as migration" in the EU.

According to SOS Mediterranee, a migrant rescue NGO, 141 irregular migrants were rescued in the central Mediterranean last Friday and brought on board the rescue ship.

Dimitris Avramopoulos, the EU commissioner for migration, home affairs and citizenship, expressed gratitude to the Maltese government for allowing the Aquarius to dock.

Avramopoulos said the EU needs to find a long-term solution to the migration issue.

"We need sustainable solutions, we can’t just rely on provisional arrangements, it’s the responsibility of the EU as a whole, not just the responsibility of one or some member states," he said.

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