After getting vital supplies to 140 migrants stranded on a cargo ship, Italy has agreed to take them in – ending a four-day stand-off with its EU neighbour Malta.
An Italian medical team boarded the freighter that rescued the migrants from two struggling boats off Italy’s island of Lampedusa on Thursday. Since then, they had been at the centre of a spat which was finally resolved after the European Commission President, Jose Manuel Barroso, intervened. Rome had refused to accept the migrants, saying the rescue operation took place in Maltese waters. But the small island state maintained it happened closer to Italy. Picked up by a Turkish cargo ship, the migrants have been taken in by Italy for “humanitarian reasons”, according to the country’s foreign ministry. It insists the decision will not set a precedent.