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Libya Refuses Entry to Spanish Fishing Boat Carrying African Migrants

Spain's Foreign Ministry says Libya has refused to allow a Spanish fishing boat with 25 rescued African migrants and the body of another to enter its waters.

The vessel picked up the migrants in the Mediterranean Wednesday. It was headed to the port of Tripoli when officials in the Libyan capital said the migrants would not be permitted to disembark.

Spain's secretary of state for foreign affairs Bernardino Leon called the refusal a violation of "humanitarian principle," citing the presence of a corpse on board the vessel.

The Spanish boat is now returning to sea to await a resolution of the situation.

Friday's incident is the latest in a series of conflicts over who should take in African migrants seeking employment in European countries.

In May, Libya, Italy and Malta refused entry to 26 African migrants rescued by another Spanish fishing boat. Those migrants ultimately disembarked at a Spanish port.

Several other recent accidents at sea have involved small boats loaded with migrants trying to enter Europe illegally. Every year, thousands of Africans head into the Mediterranean on overcrowded wooden boats that are unfit for such a journey.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.