Migrants disembark in Spain after Mediterranean standoff

Spain rescues more than 900 boat migrants, finds 4 bodies

The migrants, mainly from Africa, will be welcomed by a team of more than 2,000 people, including 1,000 Red Cross volunteers and 470 translators.

"We have to strike a balance between our sensibilities and humanity and our respect for the law", said Spain's migration minister, Magdalena Valerio.

Malta refused to take the boat, saying it had nothing to do with the rescue, which was coordinated by Italy's coast guard. That allowed Sanchez, a socialist, to offer migrant-friendly policies to voters who felt previous governments did not do enough.

The Aquarius itself entered the port shortly after 9:30am.

There are 51 women and 10 children among the migrants, most of whom sleep on deck. At least 12 other people died when their dinghy capsized.

The ship was held for two days between Malta and the Italian island of Sicily after the latter nation's Interior Minister, Matteo Salvini, refused to allow it to dock.

Spanish police say the migrants arriving on the Aquarius convoy will be granted 45 days before they must start to resolve their legal situation in Europe.

He says Italy plans to share the proposal for an "integrated" approach to migration when Austria takes over the EU's rotating presidency on July 1.

Salvini, leader of the anti-immigrant League, showed no sign Saturday of softening his position.

"This change in Italy's political landscape resembles what one sees in European countries in general", Pascouau said.

Earlier, Mr Macron accused Italy of "irresponsibility" for turning the Aquarius away.

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Macron had been critical of Italy's refusal to accept the Aquarius migrants but later worked to smooth things over with Italy's Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte.

Sanchez pointed to the election successes of anti-migrant arguments in several countries, including in Italy and Austria where the extreme right has gained power.

An Italian coast guard ship had already arrived in Valencia with 270 of the 630 total migrants that the Aquarius saved off Libyan shores over a week ago.

France made the offer via its ambassador to Spain, Deputy PM Carmen Calvo said in a statement.

While there is a sense of relief for those who were rescued by the ships, David Noguera, head of Doctors Without Borders in Spain, said he's anxious that other European nations will close themselves off to future rescued migrants.

Spain's maritime rescue service pulled 986 people from 69 small boats its rescue craft reached in waters in or near the Strait of Gibraltar between Friday and Saturday.

Nine rescue boats, a helicopter and an airplane from the European border agency, Frontex, are taking part in the operation.

Boats in a flotilla of vessels carrying 629 migrants docked in the Spanish port of Valencia, ending a perilous crossing of the Mediterranean that has focused attention on Europe's response to their plight.

Spain's Foreign Minister Josep Borrell arrives to attend the first Cabinet meeting at the Moncloa Palace in Madrid, June 8, 2018. Italy and Malta had denied entry to the Aquarius last weekend before Spain stepped in to offer them a safe harbor.

Mr Salvini said it was unfair that countries on the frontline of the European Union have had to carry most of the burden of handling the migrant influx.

The Gospel, he said, "teaches us and our world to not leave to the mercy of the waves those who leave their lands hungry for bread and justice".

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