Prime Minister Robert Abela has said that on Friday he held a discussion with the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, during which he announced that the Maltese Government would not be bringing immigrants into the country until a solution was found and an agreement reached with the European Commission.
Dr Abela was replying to TVM’s questions outside the Court, after testifying before Magistrate Joe Mifsud in connection with the inquiry into the allegation that members of the Armed Forces tried to sabotage a dinghy carrying immigrants in Maltese waters.
He said that during this discussion the position of the President of the Commission was that immigrants should be brought into Maltese ports, whereupon a discussion on relocation to other countries would then follow.
However, the Prime Minister said that he was resolute and held firm to Malta’s position, because of what he called an unsatisfactory solution which had not always worked in the past.
He claimed that the Maltese Government had always fulfilled its rescue obligation, and it was not true that the Government has in any way suspended or interfered with the rescue coordination.
He denied any wrongdoing, saying that in the case he testified about today, a private ship was used because state assets were scattered over five rescue operations at the same time. He said that state patrol boats and 2 planes were used in addition to a private ship in accordance with the search and rescue convention.
He said that the Government would continue doing everything to save lives, because beyond the legal obligation, this was a basic obligation towards human beings who were equal.
Asked about the migrants who were being kept on the Captain Morgan the Prime Minister said they were comfortable and were being given food, drink and all necessary medicine.
Listen to the Prime Minister’s comments here:
Segwi hawn silta mill-kummenti li ta Dr Abela: