Spain’s foreign minister Miguel Angel Moratinos has met with the African Union representative Alpha Oumar Konare to discuss ways of tackling the growing problem of illegal immigration. Moratinos stressed Spain’s policy of offering aid for development in return for steps being taken to stem the flow of migrants. The Spanish minister held talks with his counterparts from Senegal, Gambia and Guinea before leaving for Mauritania.
The country is one of the main launching points for would-be migrants hoping to reach the sanctuary of the Canary Islands.Every day an estimated 200 to 600 immigrants set sail for the Canaries from the African coast, a journey of up to 2000 kilometres, which costs them around a thousand euros.
A joint European Union-Africa conference in Rabat next month will discuss shared strategies aimed at tackling the causes and results of clandestine immigration. More than 200 people have been intercepted by the authorities in the Canaries over the last few days alone.
Official figures show that since the beginning of the year more than 10,000immigrants have set off from the African mainland to try to reach the Spanish archipelago. But experts fear many more may have died while trying to make the crossing.