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Italy, EU end standoff as 5 states accept 116 African asylum seekers

Italy, EU end standoff as 5 states accept 116 African asylum seekers

The EU ended a standoff with Italy over African immigration on Wednesday, agreeing to take 116 asylum-seekers rescued at sea last week but denied permission to go ashore by Interior Minister Matteo Salvini.

Germany, France, Portugal, Luxembourg and Ireland had agreed to take the asylum-seekers, meeting a condition set by Salvini for allowing the group to come ashore, Reuters said.

An additional group of those rescued by an Italian coastguard boat last week would be received in Italy with the support of the Catholic Church. Reports last week said there were 135 migrants on the vessel.

“Job done, mission accomplished,” Salvini tweeted after announcing he was finally willing to let the ship disembark. The incident showed the urgent need for temporary arrangements to ensure disembarkations of rescued persons in a timely manner, a European Commission spokeswoman said.