Rescue ship docks in Spain carrying hundreds of migrants

Rescue ship docks in Spain carrying hundreds of migrants

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

France was particularly critical, with President Emmanuel Macron accusing the Italians of "cynicism and irresponsibility", prompting Salvini to respond that "saving lives is a duty, turning Italy into a huge refugee camp is not" and suggesting France could take the Aquarius passengers.

The head of Doctors Without Borders in Spain says he's glad that Spain has allowed an aid convoy with 630 migrants to dock but he's anxious about European nations closing their ports to those rescued at sea.

Migrants disembark from the MV Aquarius, a search and rescue ship run in partnership between SOS Mediterranee and Medecins Sans Frontieres, after it arrived in Augusta on the island of Sicily, Italy.

David Noguera, the head of Doctors Without Borders in Spain, said he was glad that Spain allowed the migrants in but he's anxious that more European nations will close their ports to those rescued at sea in the future.

The 630 migrants whose rescue sparked a major migration row in Europe arrived in the Spanish port of Valencia on Sunday after a turbulent week that saw Italy and Malta turn them away.

Spain has accepted the French government's offer to take in those migrants who want to go to France "once they have fulfilled the protocols established for their arrival".

The ship is operated by aid agencies Doctors Without Borders and SOS Mediterranee, and had at least 100 minors and seven pregnant women aboard.

Spanish authorities say they will examine the migrants case-by-case to see who may qualify for asylum.

An Italian naval vessel is due to bring the remaining migrants into port later in the morning.

However, 42 migrants rescued this week by a USA ship off Libya before being transferred to an Italian coastguard vessel already carrying 500 migrants would be allowed to land in Italy, media reported in Rome on Sunday. The others had been transferred to an Italian coast guard vessel and a ship belonging to the Italian navy to make the journey safer.

After Rome's decision to ban the Aquarius, Macron and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte met on Friday and agreed that the European Union should set up asylum processing centres in Africa to prevent "voyages of death".

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.

The United Nations says nearly 800 people have died this year trying to make the perilous crossing.

Valencian local government officials said none of the people who arrived on the first boat showed signs of serious illness, but many had suffered from crowded conditions and high temperatures in recent days.

"Malta's job market would have been able to absorb these people and indeed I will be the first to admit that the country needs more foreign workers", he said in an interview on ONE Radio.

"Some people praised me by telling me that we shouldn't accept any [asylum seekers], but the only reason I refused them was because they weren't our responsibility according to global law, a point that the European Commission and all worldwide NGOs agreed with", he said.

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