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Italy on Monday gave Italian citizenship to terminally ill British toddler Alfie Evans so that he can hopefully be “immediately” moved to Italy from Liverpool, where doctors are set to pull the plug on him, the foreign ministry said. “Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano and Interior Minister Marco Minniti have granted citizenship to little Alfie,” the ministry said. “In this way the Italian government hopes that being an Italian citizen will enable the immediate transfer of the child to Italy”.

The High Court ruled in February Alder Hey Children’s Hospital could stop providing life support for Alfie against his parents’ wishes. His parents Tom Evans and Kate James have lost a series of legal challenges to the decision, including one by the European Court of Human Rights. 

Tom said that he and his wife were waiting for Alfano to call British opposite number Boris Johnson. “Alfie has been granted Italian citizenship, we are waiting for the Italian foreign minister to call Boris Johnson,” said Evans. “Alfie belongs to Italy”. Alfano and Johnson are at the Group of Seven foreign ministers’ meeting in Toronto Monday.

Anthony Hayden, the British appeals court judge who recently authorised the hospital to pull the plug on Alfie, has decided to have an “urgent” phone conversation this evening with the Italian lawyers helping the family in their bid to keep the terminally ill toddler on life support, sources close to Tom and Kate Evans said Monday after Italy granted the child Italian citizenship.

Deputy head of the national bioethics board (CNB), Maria Pia Garavaglia, told Italian News Agency ANSA, it would be up to Alfie’s parents to decide his fate if he were moved to Italy.

Earlier on Pope Francis asked the director of the Bambino Gesù Hospital to do “the possible and the impossible” for Alfie Evans to be transferred to the pontifical hospital

Mariella Enoc, director of the Pontifical Bambino Gesù Pediatric Hospital, has been working for months to allow little Alfie Evans to be transferred to the hospital in Rome, Vatican News reported in Italian on April 19. This initiative is being followed very closely by the Sovereign Pontiff.

Bambino Gesù Hosptial, said Enoc, is ready to welcome—at its own expense—Alfie Evans. 

Sources : BBC, Ansa, Aleteia