"We are acting as a part of Europe… But this is not an issue between Spain and Italy or France, this is Spain's own issue, and an obligation we have to commit to being a part of Europe," Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Carmen Calvo said at a press conference in Valencia aired by the 24 Horas TV channel.
The minister also stressed that this was a humanitarian crisis, and Spain was "sticking to its obligations under international law."
Calvo noted that some of the Aquarius ship migrants, including pregnant women, would be sent to humanitarian aid centers, while the others would be transferred to centers for migrants.
Italy closed its ports to the Aquarius refugees, saying that Malta was the closest and safest port to accommodate the vessel. The Maltese authorities, in turn, said the issue was beyond their jurisdiction and also denied entry to its ports. The Spanish authorities then said they were ready to let the Aquarius dock in its eastern port of Valencia.