The Return of Moroccans Residing Abroad Depends on the Epidemiological Situation

Nezha El-Ouafi, The minister in charge of Moroccans residing abroad, said at a meeting of the committee on foreign affairs, national defense, Islamic affairs and Moroccans residing abroad, in the House of Representatives, that the opening of borders between Morocco and countries concerned by the transit of Moroccans residing abroad, requires great human and logistical cooperation so that this operation can take place in good conditions, especially considering the current situation marked by the Coronavirus pandemic.

El-Ouafi stressed that the return of Moroccans residing abroad remains dependent on the epidemiological situation in Morocco and also in the countries of residence and transit. She pointed out that the cancellation of the “Marhaba” operation this year, due to the Coronavirus, does not mean the cancellation of the arrival of Moroccans, but that this operation will be organized under certain conditions which will depend on the opening of Morocco’s borders with the countries concerned and on the measures taken by the transit countries and their willingness to cooperate with regard to this, in addition to the health protocol which Morocco will put in place for returnees, without specifying the date on which the borders will open.

For his part, Nasser Bourita, Minister of Foreign Affairs, previously told Parliament that the return of the Moroccan community residing abroad is linked to many considerations, the most important of which are the opening of borders and the willingness of transit countries such as Spain and Italy to cooperate with Morocco, in order to put in place the appropriate measures to carry out the process smoothly and safely, taking into account the epidemiological situation in Morocco and the rest of the world. It is also necessary for incoming Moroccans residing abroad to observe a containment period of at least 9 days and to carry out two medical tests for the Coronavirus.

Spain welcomed Morocco’s decision to cancel Operation “Marhaba” for this year, considering it an important decision that preserves its interest, as Morocco has done it a great service by avoiding the logistical difficulties it faces in managing the flow of Moroccans residing abroad, in addition to the dangers of the spread of Covid-19.

It should be noted that last year, the “Marhaba” operation, which took place from June 5 to September 15, 2019, saw the transit of some 2,965,462 people, an increase of 3.47% compared to 2018.

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