Boat Caught in Europe's Migration Spat Brings Hundreds to Spain

Boat Caught in Europe's Migration Spat Brings Hundreds to Spain

The Aquarius and the two Italian boats are carrying the 630 migrants rescued by the Aquarius while attempting the perilous crossing of the Mediterranean last week.

"Over the weekend of 9 and 10 June, the Aquarius search and rescue vessel, operated by SOS Méditerranée in partnership with MSF, rescued more than 200 people and received an additional 400 people from Italian naval and coastguard ships".

But Malta also refused, prompting Spain to step in and offer to take in the migrants. It took the convoy almost a week to travel the 1,500 kilometers (930 miles) between Sicily and Spain.

Their arrival marked an end to a more than 800-mile journey that began off the coast of Libya where the migrants were rescued by the ship Aquarius.

"I have mixed feelings", he told The Associated Press on Sunday as the first boat arrived.

The Aquarius itself entered the port shortly after 09:30 carrying another 106 migrants.

Health officials, interpreters and Red Cross workers are on hand to offer support. Each were assigned to a translator and authorities worked to determine their identities before they were sent to welcome centers.

Rome's decision put the migrant influx back to the fore ahead of a European Union summit on June 28-29, where leaders are supposed to hammer out an overhaul of the bloc's asylum rules.

Valencia emergency official Jorge Suarez said some of the migrants were in a state of shock.


Carmen Moreno, a doctor and Red Cross volunteer who helped look after the migrants after they disembarked, said they were "very excited and hopeful".

France said it would welcome some of the migrants and help Spain deal with asylum applications following criticism of President Emmanuel Macron's initial silence on the plight of the rescue ship.

Spanish police say the migrants arriving on the Aquarius convoy will be granted 45 days before they must start to resolve their legal situation in Europe.

The Spanish coast guard said it rescued over 1,400 migrants between Friday and Sunday who were trying to reach Spain, the third busiest gateway for migrants into Europe after Italy and Greece.

The migrants include 123 unaccompanied minors, 11 children and as many as seven pregnant women.

Salvini refused to permit the migrants saved by the Aquarius to land in Italy.

Under the EU's asylum laws, now the subject of a major political dispute and under revision, migrants must apply for asylum in the country where they first enter Europe.

France will examine asylum requests from Aquarius migrants who want to come over from Spain on a "case-by-case basis", government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux said Sunday, adding it was "impossible" to know how many will arrive.

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