The governments of Spain and Morocco reached an agreement in principle to evacuate the 81 migrants who are on Isla de Tierra and distribute them between the two countries, government officials told Efe Monday.
The 81 migrants, who arrived last week in two groups on the tiny island in the Alhucemas archipelago - which belongs to Spain - just 30 meters (yards) off Morocco's Mediterranean coast, are still there awaiting a solution to the situation.
The Spanish and Moroccan interior and foreign affairs ministers reached a consensus on the agreement in principle, which - although the details have not been definitively worked out - says that initially the 81 people will be removed from Isla de Tierra.
The agreement includes dividing the immigrants and apportioning them between Spain and Morocco, although the proportion that would go to each country has not been agreed upon.
The officials emphasized to Efe the role being played by King Mohammed VI and said that the Spanish government is grateful for his cooperation in resolving the situation.
Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo said Monday morning that he was convinced that a cooperation formula would be found by the two governments to take action in the face of the wave of immigrants arriving on Spanish islets and rocky outcrops along Morocco's coast.
The Government Delegation in Melilla believes that the attempts to scale the border fence surrounding that autonomous Spanish city and the massive arrivals of migrants on islets under Spanish sovereignty come as a result of "a coordinated operation" by criminal organizations trafficking in human beings, the foreign minister said.
Among the 81 immigrants who are on the islet are also three minors who initially were to be transferred to Melilla but whose parents decided they would remain there, where Spanish soldiers are providing them with food, water and humanitarian assistance.
Some 160 sub-Saharan African migrants, meanwhile, on Monday tried to scale the border fence around the Spanish enclave city of Melilla on the northern Moroccan coast in two new assaults in which between five and 10 people managed to make it to Spanish territory.
The first attempt came in the Rio de Oro zone and was staged by about 100 immigrants who were repulsed and returned to Morocco and, half an hour later, another 60 migrants tried to get over the fence, officials with the Spanish Government Delegation in Melilla said.
The two new assaults came after on Sunday another 60 sub-Saharans tried to get to Spanish territory, also in the Rio de Oro zone.
Along with the flood of people who in recent days have been trying to get to Spanish territory, on Monday 18 immigrants, all of them adult males, traveling in two boats were picked up in the Strait of Gibraltar.
Officials in the city of Cadiz said that 12 of the undocumented migrants were from North Africa and six were sub-Saharans, adding that all of them were in good health. EFE