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The Latest: Poland may accept refugees for medical care

Associated Press logo Associated Press 30/05/2017

LISBON, Portugal — The Latest on Europe's response to the large number of migrants and refugees trying to reach the continent (all times local):

8:15 p.m.

Poland's foreign minister says the government is thinking of temporarily taking in Syrians who need medical treatment.

The statement Tuesday by Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski was a significant, albeit cautious, change from the conservative government's refusal to take in any migrants from the Middle East and Africa due to security concerns.

Poland's refusal to participate in a European Union program aimed at relocating some 140,000 migrants from Italy and Greece has drawn condemnation from EU leaders and warnings of sanctions.

Following a meeting of foreign ministers from central and eastern Europe on Tuesday, Waszczykowski said Poland is "at the early stage of thinking about so-called humanitarian corridors."

The corridors would mean temporarily bringing in Syrians for treatment and convalescence.

The foreign minister distinguished them from resettlement programs and said the move was a form of humanitarian assistance.

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10:45 p.m.

Portuguese and Spanish rescue services have saved 34 migrants who leaped into the sea after their inflatable craft traveling from Morocco to Europe caught fire in the Mediterranean.

Video shot by a Portuguese Air Force plane shows the migrants wearing orange life vests jumping from the black dinghy after flames erupted near the craft's outboard motor. The fire quickly spread and left burning debris on the water. Some migrants clung to what was left of the rubber craft.

A Portuguese Air Force statement says there was no obvious reason for the fire off the Spanish coast Sunday. The statement issued Monday said none of the people in the dinghy were hurt.

The plane coordinated a rescue effort, dropping a life raft into the sea and summoning a nearby fishing vessel. The statement said two Spanish coast guard vessels also helped to pick up the migrants.

Portuguese officials said the craft had come from the coast of Morocco. No details were available about the migrants' nationalities.

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