Published: Tue, June 19, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Migrants disembark in Spain after Mediterranean standoff

Migrants disembark in Spain after Mediterranean standoff

"We have to strike a balance between our sensibilities and humanity and our respect for the law", said Spain's migration minister, Magdalena Valerio.

The majority are from Sub-Saharan Africa and it is unclear how many will qualify for refugee status, as many are from countries which do not have high asylum approval rates within the EU.

Spain's deputy prime minister Carmen Calvo said: "The French government will work together with the Spanish government to handle the arrival of the migrants".

Axel Steier, the co-founder of Mission Lifeline which operates the Lifeline ship, said his crew had rescued more than 100 migrants off Libya on Friday in an operation with a U.S. warship, and transferred them to a Turkish merchant vessel.

Le Pen praised Italy for saying "it's finished" accepting boatloads of migrants.

Hundreds of migrants on the Aquarius rescue ship are set to arrive in Spain following the diplomatic row over their future. "(The EU) must recognize that it needs an immigration policy that these times require".

It said Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez appreciated the cooperation of French president Emmanuel Macron, and "believes this is the framework of cooperation that Europe should use to respond" to the immigration issue.

The "green circuit" for migrants in good health took them directly to the police, which recorded their data and then sent them off by bus to a temporary shelter.

Salvini told the Senate on Wednesday he was receptive to forming an alliance with Germany and Austria on immigration before a key European Union summit later this month.

"They arrive without shoes and socks, they need them because it is a long way from the boat to the tents", she said. A private aid ship said it couldn't assume the unexpected passengers from Trenton because Italy wasn't assigning it a port within its navigational capacity.

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"Welcome home", reads a large banner unfurled at the harbour, translated into five languages for the migrants, who hail from over 20 countries.

The Aquarius itself is due to dock once all the migrants are off the Italian vessel.

229 other migrants were rescued from unseaworthy boats or from the water by the ship's rescue crews.

The EU border agency noted that all the other rescues happened in the Alboran Sea, between northeastern Morocco and southeastern Spain. The 1,500-kilometre (930-mile) journey across the Mediterranean from Sicily to Valencia took almost a week.

"I have mixed feelings", he told The Associated Press on Sunday.

Had Malta been the closest port of call, and thus duty-bound to take in the migrants aboard the Aquarius, Malta would not have hesitated to do so, Muscat stressed.

Migrants are seen after being rescued by MV Aquarius, a search and rescue ship run in partnership between SOS Mediterranee and Medecins Sans Frontieres in the central Mediterranean Sea, June 12, 2018.

The coast guard boat was the first to arrive, docking in the eastern port with 274 on board just after dawn.

Last weekend the Aquarius fell victim to the new political dispensation in Italy - where the far-right Lega is partner in a populist government - when Lega's Matteo Salvini, the freshly installed interior minister, refused to allow the ship to dock in any Italian port.

Malta refused and Spain stepped in and offered to grant them entry some 930 miles away.

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