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EU signs agreement to help Mauritania stop Europe-bound migrants

Signing of deal between EU and Mauritania   -  
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Mauritania and the European Union signed a migration deal on Thursday as the country struggles to contain a surge in migrants embarking on the dangerous journey across the Atlantic Ocean to Spain’s Canary Islands.

Speaking in the capital, Nouakchott, European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson praised the deal which includes $230 million for Mauritania to manage migration and crack down on people smugglers.

“The route from Mauritania to the Canary Islands is one of the deadliest and most dangerous you can take," she said.

"This is why it is of crucial importance that we reinforce our partnership and also include support for the border management and for search-and-rescue."

Spain says nearly 12,000 migrants and refugees have reached its Atlantic Ocean islands, located some 100 kilometres off the coast of Africa, in the first two months of the year.

But while thousands have survived the risky journey, many die or disappear along the way.

"Our nation, will not be a country for irregular migrants, and the European Union agrees with that. And Mauritania will not receive them, nor lodge them in accordance with this common agreement," said Mauritania’s Minister for the Economy and Sustainable Development, Abdessalam Ould Mohamed Saleh.

Spain has for years deployed national police and civil guards in Mauritania to help local authorities stop migrants from the country and other nearby nations from leaving on the perilous journey.

At least 191 migrants have been reported dead or missing so far in 2024 trying to reach the Canary Islands, according to the International Organization for Migrations Missing Migrants Project.

But that number is believed to be an undercount.

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