First group of migrants brought to Malta leave for France

First group of migrants brought to Malta leave for France

The first group of migrants from a private rescue boat that Malta agreed to let dock only if they were divided among several countries has left for France aboard a commercial flight.

Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat tweeted Thursday that an undisclosed number of migrants from among the 234 who arrived aboard the Lifeline last week had departed for France as part of what he as described an “ad hoc agreement between nine countries” on “responsibility-sharing.”

Malta and Italy had denied safe harbor to the Lifeline, which had carried out rescues in the Mediterranean off Libya, where migrant-smugglers are based. After a standoff, Malta let the boat dock but only if other countries offered to take a share of the migrants. Italy and Malta, six other EU countries and Norway agreed.

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