Mauritania says no to migrants rescued by Spain
6 February 2007, MADRID — Authorities in Mauritania refused on Tuesday to allow 200 Pakistani immigrants held on a boat off their coast to disembark.
6 February 2007
MADRID — Authorities in Mauritania refused on Tuesday to allow 200 Pakistani immigrants held on a boat off their coast to disembark.
In a statement, the Mauritanian foreign ministry said it was not concerned about the disembarking of the would-be immigrants who are currently on board the ship.
"Our country never gave the green light to the disembarkation of these people who are currently in international waters," the statement said.
The immigrants were spotted off the Canary Islands and taken towards Mauritania, from where it was thought they had come.
The boat, Marine 1, was spotted last Friday near the Canary Islands and escorted by the Spanish navy vessel Luz de Mar to Nuadibu in northern Mauritania.
Spain helped out as part of an international treaty which obliges the nearest country to take immigrants who are in distress. Mauritania and Senegal also signed the treaty.
Spanish ambassador to Mauritania, Alejandro Polanco, said the two countries had reached an agreement which could overcome this problem "in a matter of days".
The boat was said to be stable and the immigrants in good condition, according to foreign ministry sources.
But the Spanish Commission for Refugees (SCR) asked to be allowed access to the boat.
The immigrants are said to be from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
The SCR were keen to avoid a repeat of the situation in July 2006 when hundreds of immigrants were left in deteriorating conditions aboard a boat off Malta while three governments haggled over their future.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news