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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 11 December 2018

Baby Charlie Gard cannot be moved to Vatican, says Boris Johnson

Terminally ill 10-month-old Charlie has been blocked from receiving treatment abroad

Charlie Gard is terminally ill (Family of Charlie Gard via AP)
Charlie Gard is terminally ill (Family of Charlie Gard via AP)

UNITED KINGDOM // It is not possible for terminally ill Charlie Gard to be transferred to the Vatican's children's hospital for treatment, the UK foreign secretary Boris Johnson has said.

He told Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano legal reasons prevented him from being moved.

The Pope tweeted his support for Charlie on Monday. Shortly after the president of the Bambino Gesu hospital in Rome asked 10-month-old Charlie could be transferred to his care.

Charlie has been receiving specialist treatment at the UK children’s hospital Great Ormond Street since October.

Johnson said it is "right that decisions continued to be led by expert medical opinion, supported by the courts", in line with Charlie's "best interests."

Charlie has mitochondrial depletion syndrome, a rare genetic condition. It causes progressive muscle weakness and doctors say he cannot see, hear, move, cry or swallow.

Prime Minister Theresa May said she was "confident" Great Ormond Street Hospital "have, and always will, consider any offers or new information that has come forward with consideration of the well-being of a desperately ill child".

Charlie's parents raised £1.3m on a crowdfunding site to pay for experimental treatment in the US.

But they lost a legal battle with the hospital last month after judges at the European Court of Human Rights concluding further treatment would "continue to cause Charlie significant harm".

US President Donald Trump also tweeted about Charlie on Monday, writing: "If we can help little #CharlieGard, as per our friends in the UK and the Pope, we would be delighted to do so."

Charlie's parents, from Bedfont, west London, have spent the last days of their son's life with him, after being given more time before his life-support is turned off.