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Migrants From Rescue Ship Barred by Italy, Malta Arrive in Spain

Migrants From Rescue Ship Barred by Italy, Malta Arrive in Spain

Malta said no too, exposing deep divisions over undocumented migrants fleeing to Europe.

Italy's refusal to admit the migrant-packed Aquarius ship met little protest from other European Union countries apart from France, which analysts see as a sign of how hardliners are now shaping solutions to the migration crisis.

He had initially offered some mild criticism of the Italian government's handling of the Aquarius crisis.

France said Saturday it would welcome Aquarius migrants who meet the criteria for asylum.

"It will be hard for Spaniards not to smile when they see these children disembark", he said".

Pope Francis says that the Gospel teaches that it's wrong to leave migrants "at the mercy of the waves", an apparent critique of Italy's new migration policies.

They are entitled to medical assistance as promised to them by the Spanish government.

Spain eventually agreed to take them in. Francis added that "mutual respect" will lead to solutions for the issues involved with migration.

The Aquarius was being escorted by two vessels, including the Italian coast guard ship. "(The EU) must recognize that it needs an immigration policy that these times require".

The ship had to travel an additional 700 nautical miles to accept Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez's offer to take the ship in, Reuters reported. The Aquarius docked Sunday in Valencia.

On hand, at the scene were 1,000 Red Cross workers greeting migrants as they stepped off.

Far-right wing protesters hold Spanish flags and a banner reading "We don't want refugees" as they demonstrate against the arrival of migrants in the Aquarius. The trip to the Spanish port took almost a week.

Valencia's Mayor Joan Ribo, who has offered the ship a safe berth, described Italy's decision to turn the vessel away as inhuman.

In this file photo taken on May 10, 2018 migrants stand on the deck of the French NGO's ship Aquarius, as it approaches the Italian coast. It took the convoy almost a week to travel the 930 miles between Sicily and Spain.

Spain's maritime rescue service says it has rescued around 270 migrants and recovered three bodies from more than 30 boats trying to cross from Africa by sea.

The refusal by Italy and Malta to allow the Aquarius to enter their ports has reignited a continentwide battle over how to handle immigration. "The inaction of Europe is criminal", SOS Mediterranee cofounder Sophie Beau told a news conference in Valencia. "I am happy that the journey is over, a journey that was too long, and I am anxious for the situation in the Mediterranean and the closing of European ports". Monica Oltra, left wing vice president of the Valencia regional government, said, "The Mediterranean Sea must not become a mass grave".

Italy's new populist government is criticizing aid groups that rescue migrants in the Mediterranean Sea, declaring two German rescue boats can't dock in Italian ports even though the groups operate at sea and don't bring migrants ashore.

The ships were met by a staff of 2,320, including volunteers, translators and health officials.

Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has explained his stance on the matter of the 629 migrants stranded on a humanitarian ship, saying that had Malta been the closest port of call, it would have had no hesitation in taking them in.

The passengers are made up of 450 adult men and 80 women - including at least seven pregnant women -- as well as 11 under-13s and 89 adolescents, according to figures released by authorities in Valencia.