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19.08.2019 19:49 News >> Spain: No Deal With Italy Over Migrant Ship

Spain: No Deal With Italy Over Migrant Ship

Spanish NGO claims Italy, Spain reached agreement to allow rescue ship to disembark at Mallorca.

Spain denied Monday the existence of an agreement with Italy to allow a rescue ship with more than 100 migrants to disembark at the island of Mallorca.
"The only certain thing is that the government of Spain has offered to the Open Arms [is] to be able to go to the Spanish port that is closest in its route and that the Italian executive is breaking the law by preventing the landing of migrants in Lampedusa or any other of its ports close," Spanish daily La Vanguardia cited government sources as saying about allegations by the Proactiva Open Arms NGO, which does searches and rescues at sea.
Riccardo Gatti, the head of Open Arms in Italy, proposed a plan Monday to have the migrants disembark in Catania, Italy and then have them transported to Madrid by plane.
Neither government has responed to the proposal.
"Spain and Italy ultimately assume responsibility for providing support and safe haven for 107 people on board our ship," the group said.
Acting Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced Sunday the port of Algeciras will be enabled to receive the charity vessel.
"Spain always acts in humanitarian emergencies. It is necessary to establish a European, orderly and supportive solution, leading the migration challenge with the values of progress and humanism of the EU," he tweeted.
But that offer was refused by Open Arms because it said the migrants could not handle another long trip after 17 days at sea already.
Italy's right-wing Interior Minister Matteo Salvini had previously denied a safe port to the vessel but on Saturday he authorized children to leave the ship on the insistence of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, according to local media reports.
Open Arms said 27 unaccompanied children were allowed to disembark on Italy's Lampedusa Island. Twenty-six other migrants were allowed to leave the ship due to urgent medical needs.
The ship had rescued some 160 migrants in early August and has been waiting in the Mediterranean Sea for a port.
More than 39,000 irregular migrants and refugees have reached Europe by sea since the beginning of 2019. As many as 840 died at sea, according to the International Organization for Migration.
More than 30,500 migrants died between 2014 and 2018 while taking the treacherous journey to Europe, the IOM said in January. -



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