Malta to send Lifeline economic migrants back, warns PM
VALLETTA, July 1 (Xinhua) -- Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat warned on Sunday that any of the 233 migrants who arrived on board the migrants ship MV Lifeline but were not "genuine" asylum seekers would be sent back to their countries or origin.
Muscat in a radio interview announced plans to repatriate non-genuine asylum seekers, but didn't provide details as to how the process would go.
Muscat said that in the Lifeline case, Malta had done what the European Union had never succeeded in doing -- successfully managing to obtain the support of eight other member states who agreed to each take a number of migrants.
The captain of the Lifeline is due in court on Monday to face charges of disobeying orders from the Maltese authorities.
Muscat said that until an investigation into the matter was concluded, Malta was forced to close its ports to all NGO-run ships or allow any NGO ships currently in Malta to leave.
The Lifeline and its passengers was stranded at sea for six days last week after both Italy and Malta refused to allow it entry. The ship eventually docked in Malta after crisis talks.