VALENCIA, Spain – A group of 78 migrants, who last month arrived at the northeastern Spanish port city of Valencia following a week at sea after a diplomatic spat between Italy and Malta, traveled to France on Thursday.
They were being transferred from Spain to France on a flight chartered by the International Organization for Migration.
The plane, carrying them along with a team from the organization, left for Paris on the morning, an IOM source told EFE.
The United Nations-linked body, which could not provide an exact number of people who had requested to go to France, was managing the logistical operation and assisting French authorities.
The Aquarius rescue vessel, belonging to German NGO SOS Méditerranée, arrived in Spain on June 17 with 630 rescued migrants on board after Italy and Malta refused to allow the ship to dock.
After the vessel changed course and set sail for Spain, France offered to receive any of the migrants who expressed an interest in going there.
After their arrival, Spain’s Deputy Prime Minister Carmen Calvo said about half of the migrants had expressed an interest in going to France.