Spain’s overseas minister says Trump instructed him to construct wall throughout the Sahara to cease migrants


Borrell made the remarks in a speech Tuesday throughout a lunch at Membership Siglo XXI in Madrid, in reference to the anticipated huge progress within the variety of younger Africans in search of work within the subsequent 20 years. He didn’t specify the place Trump had spoken however described it as taking place “just lately.”

“You should construct a wall across the Sahara,” Trump mentioned, in response to Borrell. The minister impersonated Trump’s voice as he spoke, in response to an audio file heard by CNN.

The White Home disputed the account.

“Whereas we will affirm that the President has mentioned migration challenges with Spanish interlocutors, we should not have document of this particular remark,” a senior White Home official instructed CNN.

In accordance with the Spanish overseas minister, Trump, requested if he was conscious of the dimensions of the Sahara, replied: “It might probably’t be greater than our border with Mexico.”

Borrell continued: “Effectively, sure, it’s means greater than the border with Mexico, and in any case it would not be very helpful to do this.”

A spokesman for the Spanish International Ministry confirmed to Borrell’s feedback to CNN however mentioned the ministry had no additional remark in relation to the minister’s remarks.

The Sahara desert extends for almost 3,000 miles throughout the African continent. Round a dozen international locations lie wholly or partly inside the Sahara, together with Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Egypt, Algeria, Chad and Niger. Spain shouldn’t be considered one of them, so any wall must be constructed solely on different nations’ land.

The US-Mexico border is slightly underneath 2,000 miles lengthy.

Trump was elected in 2016 having campaigned on a promise to construct a wall alongside the US’ southern border, which he mentioned Mexico would pay for. Mexico has refused and funding for the wall stays mired in Congress amid opposition from Democrats.

Immigration is a contentious challenge in Spain, as in lots of international locations in Europe. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez confronted criticism from some in June when he offered refuge in Spain to more than 600 migrants on a rescue ship after they have been turned away by Italy’s populist leaders.
Greater than 33,000 migrants have arrived in Spain by sea thus far this 12 months, in response to the Worldwide Group for Migration, a UN company. That determine represents 43% of all irregular arrivals through the Mediterranean this 12 months, the IOM mentioned — placing Spain forward of Italy and Greece, additionally fashionable locations for migrants arriving by sea.

Spain additionally has two tiny northern African territories which border Morocco, Ceuta and Melilla. They’re Europe’s solely land borders with Africa.

The enclaves, which lie on the Mediterranean coast, have long been popular transit points for sub-Saharan African migrants. Final month, a number of hundred migrants stormed a border fence to enter Ceuta, leaving greater than 150 folks injured.

The variety of migrants in search of to enter Europe illegally has fallen sharply from a peak in 2015, when the IOM recorded complete arrivals to Europe by sea at simply over 1 million. Altogether, round 77,500 migrants have reached Europe by sea illegally thus far this 12 months, in response to the IMO.

CNN’s Laura Perez Maestro reported from Madrid and Laura Smith-Spark wrote from London.

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