Trump urged Spain to ‘build a wall’ across Sahara, says minister

The US border wall with Mexico, seen from the United States in Nogales, Arizona.
Image caption The current US border wall with Mexico, seen from the United States in Nogales, Arizona – prototypes of Donald Trump’s proposed wall are being built in California

President Trump recommended building a wall across the Sahara to solve Europe’s migrant crisis, Spain’s foreign minister says.

Josep Borrell, also a former President of the European Parliament, disagreed with the strategy.

The comments came during a visit Mr Borrell made to the US at the end of June.

Mr Trump’s pledge to build a wall between the US and Mexico was one of his best-known election promises.

Blood-stained clothing hangs from the razor wire after a mass assault on the double fence into the Spanish enclave of Melilla from Morocco by African immigrants in October 2005Image caption Blood-stained clothing pictured hanging from the razor wire fence around the Spanish enclave of Melilla

Mr Borrell recounted his conversation with the US president at a lunch event in Madrid this week, Spain’s foreign ministry confirmed to the BBC.

“The border with the Sahara cannot be bigger than our border with Mexico,” Mr Borrell quoted Mr Trump as saying.

The US-Mexico border is 1,954 miles (3,145 km) long. The Sahara desert stretches for 3,000 miles.

Spain has no sovereignty over the Sahara, but it does possess two small enclaves on the north African coast, Ceuta and Melilla, separated from Morocco by controversial wire fences.

The enclaves have become magnets for African migrants seeking a better life in Europe.

Since January of this year, 35,000 migrants arrived in Spain, the highest number received by any EU country.

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