Proactiva Open Arms criticized Monday the proposal to land 107 migrants in the Spanish archipelago of the Balearic Islands, some 1,000 kilometers from the coast of the Italian island of Lampedusa near which they have been waiting for days in the boat of the NGO.
On board for some 18 days, these migrants are well on their way to breaking the record of the 32 remained stuck for 19 days aboard the SeaWatch3 before their landing in Malta on January 9th.
"After 18 days of impasse, Italy and Spain seem to have reached an agreement by designating Mallorca (Balearic Islands) as a port of landing, a decision that seems totally incomprehensible to us," denounced the NGO in a statement.
"While our boat is 800 m from the coast of Lampedusa, the European states are asking a small NGO like ours to face (...) 3 days of sailing in harsh weather conditions," the organization added. Spanish.
- "Psychological crisis" -
"It is urgent to end the inhuman and unacceptable situation experienced by the people we have saved at sea," said Open Arms, referring to "a situation of serious psychological crisis on board".
Faced with the "inconceivable" refusal of Rome to welcome these migrants, Madrid ended up proposing Sunday to the ship to land in Algeciras, in the extreme south of Spain, which the NGO considered "absolutely unachievable".
The Spanish government then proposed the Balearic Islands, closer but still distant a thousand kilometers from Lampedusa.
Denying the existence of any agreement with Italy, he assured Monday not to have received a "clear and direct response" from the NGO on a landing in the Balearic Islands.
"It's not about accepting or not accepting," said a spokeswoman for Open Arms.
"The answer we gave them is that we can not guarantee the safety of these people on our boat, since Italy and Spain have assumed responsibility for these people, that they find solutions," he said. she added.
Italian Minister of Transport Danilo Toninelli assured Sunday night that the Italian coastguard was "ready to accompany the NGO to the Spanish port".
The European Commission welcomed "the willingness of Spain to accept this landing" but called on "all member states and NGOs to cooperate together and find a solution that works and allows to land the people aboard the Open Arms in the shortest time possible ".
An agreement between European countries plans to divide immediately after landing these migrants between France, Germany, Luxembourg, Portugal, Romania and Spain.
Highly critical of Italy, which "closes its ports in a totally illegal and incomprehensible way", the number two of the Spanish government Carmen Calvo confessed to not understanding the position of Open Arms either.
"We have proposed everything to them because we want these lives to be no longer in danger but what are we left with?" She said.
This new confrontation between the Italian Minister of the Interior Matteo Salvini and NGOs helping migrants takes place in full political crisis in Rome.
Mr Salvini had agreed on Saturday to let 27 unaccompanied minor migrants land. But he continues to refuse the landing of the rest of the passengers.
"Why the Open Arms do not go to Spain In 18 days, they could have gone and come back three times from Ibiza and Formentera.They are fighting a political battle," he accused Monday on Twitter.
Despite the closure of Lampedusa at the Open Arms, migrants continue to arrive on the Italian coast. According to the Interior Ministry, for the last 18 days, 479 migrants have landed in Italy, including more than a hundred in Lampedusa.
© 2019 AFP