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The Aquarius rescue ship takes on supplies after picking up 629 migrants near Libya The Aquarius rescue ship takes on supplies after picking up 629 migrants near Libya  (ANSA)

Spain agrees to accept rejected migrant boat

Spain on Monday agreed to take in 629 migrants currently stranded aboard a rescue ship after Italy and Malta refused to allow it to dock in their ports.

By Nathan Morley

The Aquarius ship - with 629 migrants onboard rescued off the coast of Libya on Saturday -remains stranded in the Mediterranean, as both Malta and Italy refuse to allow it into port.

The government in Valetta said the rescue of the migrants had been coordinated by Rome and was therefore the responsibility of Italy.

But Rome said it would not accept the asylum seekers. Over the last five-years, over 700,000 migrants have reached Italy.

The European Union and the UN called for a swift end to the situation.

In a surprise move on Monday, Spain’s new prime minister said that the rescue vessel could dock in Valencia.

News media in Italy are speculating that the new stance could herald the eventual closing of all Italian ports to NGO vessels carrying migrants.

Matteo Salvini, the Italian interior minister, aims to expel up to 500,000 unauthorised migrants.

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12 June 2018, 09:58