New Spanish PM to meet with France's Macron Saturday

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Spain's new Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said he will head to Paris Saturday to meet with President Emmanuel Macron and is also planning to visit Germany and possibly Portugal.

In his first television interview since taking office on June 2, the Socialist leader also announced Monday that his first "official visit" would be to Morocco, probably in the second half of the year, as Rabat is traditionally the first destination for any new Spanish leader.

"I am announcing that I will undertake a consultation tour... with European colleagues in Berlin, in Paris, and hopefully also in Portugal," which also has a Socialist government, Sanchez said Monday.

"The first stage will be next Saturday with the president of the French Republic (Macron) in Paris," he said.

Sanchez will have lunch at the Elysee Palace followed by a press conference, the French president's office said.

France has offered to take some of the 630 migrants rescued by the ship Aquarius which arrived in Spain at the weekend after being turned away by Italy and Malta.

While several European Union nations have adopted a harder line against refugees, Spain's new Socialist government has announced a series of measures to help migrants since it came to power earlier this month, in a break with the policies of its conservative predecessor.

Sanchez took office after conservative leader Mariano Rajoy was toppled in a no-confidence vote.


© 2018 AFP

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