Portugal announced Tuesday it would accept 10 of the 58 migrants aboard the rescue ship Aquarius following a deal with Spain and France, after France refused to let the humanitarian ship call at a Marseille port on Monday.
“Portugal has agreed with Spain and France, in the context of the joint response to the flow of migrants seeking to reach Europe through the Mediterranean, to host 10 of the 58 people on the vessel Aquarius II,” Lisbon announced in a statement.
The European port that will allow the humanitarian ship to call at port remains unclear.
“For the moment, France says no,” said French economy minister Bruno Le Maire on Tuesday on the BFMTV television channel, when asked about the French response given to the NGO SOS Mediterranee.
According to Le Marie, European rules “must be respected”, indicating that Marseille is not the closest port.
“If we want to have a coherent migration policy, we must respect European rules. I believe that France takes a part of the important duty in receiving many asylum seekers,” he said.
“It’s the president of the republic, the prime minister, and the minister of the interior who will decide. I think that it must be firm and clear,” Le Maire explained.
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