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Pope Francis urges Europe to help 49 migrants stranded on rescue vessels

In this photo taken with slow shutter speed Pope Francis leaves after celebrating an Epiphany Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019.
In this photo taken with slow shutter speed Pope Francis leaves after celebrating an Epiphany Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019. AP Photo/Andrew Medichini

Pope Francis has appealed to European leaders to show concrete solidarity to 49 migrants stranded aboard a pair of rescue vessels.

Francis, addressing faithful in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday, noted that the migrants, rescued in the Mediterranean Sea, have been waiting for days for permission for a safe port to let them disembark. The crowd applauded his words.

READ MORE: 164 countries sign non-binding UN migration pact amid international controversy

As policy, Italy’s populist government has refused to let private aid vessels disembark migrants, rescued from human traffickers’ unseaworthy boats, in Italian ports.

Malta is also refusing to let the boats dock or the migrants disembark, but has allowed the two boats to enter its waters for fresh supplies. Thirty-two of the migrants were rescued on Dec. 22; the others, days later.

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WATCH: Boat docks after 14 days stranded at sea with 32 migrants

Click to play video 'Boat docks after 14 days stranded at sea with 32 migrants' Boat docks after 14 days stranded at sea with 32 migrants
Boat docks after 14 days stranded at sea with 32 migrants

Francis said he was directing a “fervent appeal” to the leaders to “show concrete solidarity toward these persons.”