Some of the rescued migrants from the Aquarius after their arrival in Spain early June / Photo: Screenshot/Euronews

Spain welcomes hundreds of migrants after Italy rejected them

After more than a week at sea, hundreds of migrants turned away by Italy danced and sang as their ships arrived in the Spanish port of Valencia on Sunday.

The migrant rescue boat Aquarius arrived in Spain Sunday with 106 migrants on board. Spain swooped to offer safe harbour to a convoy of boats, carrying a total of 629 rescued migrants, after they had been turned away by Italy and Malta.

Three vessels, including the Aquarius, rescued 630 migrants from unstable boats last weekend off the coast of Libya.

Authorities said all seven pregnant women on board the three ships were taken for check-ups, and all the arrivals, including 123 children, will receive psychological help.

Most Spaniards support the idea of welcoming and helping to integrate refugees, pollsters say. That allowed new Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, a socialist, to offer migrant-friendly policies to voters who felt previous governments did not do enough.

France, which criticised Italy for turning away the Aquarius, has offered to take in any passengers who qualify for asylum and want to go there.

Sola Jolaoso with agency reports

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