Flood of migrants an "emergency," Spanish official says

Barcelona, Mar 4 (EFE).- Spain's interior minister said Tuesday that the pressure being exerted by undocumented migrants on the borders of the Spanish cities of Ceuta and Melilla from Morocco is an "emergency."

The latest massive entry attempt on Tuesday of some 1,500 sub-Saharan migrants confirms that statement, Jorge Fernandez Diaz told reporters.

The minister said that some 40,000 migrants are currently waiting in Morocco to find ways of getting into Spain, while another 40,000 are in Mauritania with the same intention.

The figures were provided by his Moroccan counterpart with whom he recently met in Paris, and which have also been corroborated by Spanish intelligence services, the minister said.

"The (migrant-trafficking) mafias are watching what is going on in Spain," he warned with regard to criticism of the action taken by the Civil Guard on Feb. 6 when 15 migrants died trying to swim from Morocco into Spanish territory.

Spain's interior minister said that immigration policy should be "communal," a position he defended Monday when speaking in Brussels with the European Union commissioner for home affairs, Cecilia Malmstrom.