The Latest: Spain holds talks over fate of rescued migrants
BERLIN (AP) — The Latest on Europe’s migrant crisis (all times local):
The Spanish government says is holding “intense diplomatic talks” to resolve the stranding of a Spanish fishing vessel for nearly one week after it took on board 12 migrants, including two children, north of the Libyan coast.
The rescue by the crew aboard the Nuestra Senora de Loreto took place on Nov. 22 in waters under Libyan jurisdiction after a Libyan coast guard boat took another group of migrants from the same vessel.
According to Spain, Libya has not responded to requests to take in the migrants and bad weather has forced the trawler to sail away closer to Lampedusa, an Italian island half way between Tunisia and Malta.
Deputy Prime Minister Carmen Calvo has said on Wednesday that Spain is in talks with Italy and Malta, whose coasts are closer now to the trawler, in order to find “an alternative, speedy and satisfactory solution.”
Rights group Amnesty International on Wednesday joined previous calls by other non-profits and said the migrants “must be allowed to disembark in Europe as soon as possible.”
Italy is joining a handful of countries and is bowing out of a conference next month to formally adopt a U.N.-backed pledge promoting safe migration.
Premier Giuseppe Conte, whose government has made headlines for its crackdown on migration, says that Italy will decide whether or not to support the deal after Parliament considers it.
In July, 192 countries unanimously agreed to the global pact to promote safe, orderly migration and reduce human smuggling and trafficking. At the time, only the U.S. abstained. But in recent months, a handful of countries have said they won’t attend the meeting in Marrakech, Morocco, on Dec. 10-11 to formally approve the document, which isn’t legally binding.
Since 2014, more than 640,000 migrants have arrived in Italy, most leaving Libya aboard smugglers’ boats.
German officials say they have taken a 21-year-old Afghan asylum-seeker into custody after a 15-year-girl alleged he was one of two men who sexually assaulted her.
Police said Wednesday they are still looking for the second suspect and wouldn’t provide details about him, citing the ongoing investigation.
The girl reported to police last Thursday she had been assaulted two days earlier by two men in a public toilet in Koenigs Wusterhausen, outside Berlin.
Police say she identified at least one of her alleged attackers by name and the man was arrested Friday at an area home for asylum-seekers where he had been living.
The case has the potential to inflame tensions in Germany over Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to let in more than 1 million migrants in 2015-16.
A coroner has increased to four the number of fatalities after a night train in northern Greece ran over a group of migrants who may have been sleeping on the lines.
Nikos Kisnidis told The Associated Press Wednesday that the victims were two men and two women aged 30-35. He said they were lying down when the train hit and dismembered them, dragging their bodies for about 200 meters (yards).
The accident occurred late Monday, but was only reported the next morning when a train driver saw the mangled human remains and called police. Initially, officials said three people had been killed, and their sex and age were unclear due to the condition of the remains.
They were hit near the village of Fylakas, between the northeastern towns of Alexandroupolis and Komotini.
The German government is reaching out to the country’s 4.5 million Muslims by sitting down with community leaders, experts and imams to talk about improving their integration in the country.
German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer opened the “German Islam Conference” Wednesday saying the dialogue with Germany’s Muslims will tackle their “beliefs, convictions and traditions ... and how they can be put in line with the culture and values rooted in German society.”
Seehofer says training imams in Germany and ending financial support of mosques from abroad are two important goals.
He says the integration of the more than 1 million, mostly Muslim migrants who have arrived in Germany since 2015 needs to be improved and asked that the migrants contribute themselves by honoring Germany’s basic values and learning the language.