Despite reconciliation, Spain decides to extend the closure of land borders with Morocco

Madrid announced that the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, which form the only land borders of the European Union on the African continent, will remain closed for 15 days to finalize the modalities for their reopening.

Spain’s Interior Ministry said the two enclaves, which were closed during the Coronavirus outbreak in the spring of 2020 and remained closed due to a diplomatic crisis in 2021, were to reopen “at midnight on Saturday, April 30.”

However, according to the order published in the Official Bulletin, the closure of the borders with Morocco will be extended “for 15 days until the conditions for reopening the border posts at the entry and exit of Ceuta and Melilla are met in an orderly and gradual manner.

The Ministry of Interior added that the operation is related to “the completion of all the details and mechanisms that govern the reopening of land borders, indicating in its statement to have strengthened the police in both enclaves.

On March 18, Madrid ended a year-long diplomatic crisis after it changed its position on the Moroccan Sahara issue and recognized Morocco’s autonomy plan for the disputed region.

Due to the fact that the Sahrawi separatist leader of the Polisario Front, Ibrahim Ghali, was treated in Spain for Covid, the dispute between Rabat and Madrid has led to the arrival of more than 10,000 immigrants in Ceuta in May 2021 in 24 hours following the relaxation of control operations on the Moroccan side.

The reconciliation between Spain and Morocco culminated in early April with the visit of Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez to Rabat, when the two countries decided to launch an unprecedented phase in their partnership.

Sanchez announced at the time that “one of the first objectives will be the rerouting of goods and merchandise to the points of Ceuta and Melilla. Cruises resumed on April 12, with the first ferry from Spain arriving in Tangier in two years.

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