STAFF REPORTER

PALMA
THE Spanish Interior Minister, Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba, yesterday said there is “no need for alarm” in the Balearics and denied that the region is becoming a new port of entry for illegal immigrants sailing across from North Africa into Spain and other European countries.

The Minister said that the security forces in the Balearics have the situation under control and that the SIVE radar systems currently being installed along the Balearic's south coast will further boost control of Balearic and Spanish waters.

He said that the Balearic, Spanish and Algerian police are involved in a joint operation to combat illegal immigration and he said that the government is satisfied with its effectiveness. “I don't think the Balearics is becoming a new entry point. “Quite simply, there have been a handful of boats carrying illegal immigrants out of Algeria whose skippers have decided to head slightly further north in an attempt to avoid the existing radar - hence the detection network is being improved and expanded,” Rubalcaba said yesterday.

The most recent boat of illegal immigrants to have been detected in the Balearics was found in the natural park of Cabrera at the end of last year but the issue of illegal immigrants setting sail for Spain from North Africa was one of the main topics in Spanish parliament yesterday after 21 migrants, many of them children drowned off a beach crowded with holiday makers in the Canary Islands on Monday.