Spain pays EUR10m to send illegal migrants back

10th October 2006, Comments 0 comments

10 October 2006, MADRID — Spain has offered Guinea and Guinea-Conakry EUR 10 million in aid in return for accepting the return of illegal immigrants.

10 October 2006

MADRID — Spain has offered Guinea and Guinea-Conakry EUR 10 million in aid in return for accepting the return of illegal immigrants.

The deal as part of a new diplomatic offensive in West Africa aimed at curbing the flow of illegal migrants to the Canary Islands.

Spanish foreign minister Miguel Angel Moratinos is to sign a similar deal with Senegal on Tuesday.

Moratinos announced the assistance package after talks with senior government officials in the former French colonies.

More than 23,000 of illegal migrants have come ashore in boats in the Canary Islands this year, posing a major immigration problem for Spain.

Hundreds more are believed to have drowned or died of hunger, thirst or exhaustion.

Madrid responded by trying to get West African governments to fight clandestine migration, offering them aid packages in return for repatriation agreements that would send illegal immigrants back home.

Moratinos called for a concerted response to illegal migration that would combine both measures to stop the wave of migrants, including more coastal patrols, and longer-term development projects to help persuade would-be migrants to stay in their own countries.

He repeated Spain's position that it would accept all lawful migration but turn away those who arrived illegally.

With some governments, Spain has negotiated accords to repatriate illegal migrants.

More than 2,000 Senegalese nationals have been flown the Canaries back to Senegal since mid-September.

Moratinos said Madrid was seeking to set up such repatriation mechanisms with other West African states like Guinea.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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