THE United States has asked for Spain’s permission to use its military bases in Andalucía as part of the international fight against the Ebola virus.
The American authorities are requesting access to Morón de la Frontera in Seville and Rota in the province of Cadíz to refuel and rest the crew when returning from the stricken countries in Africa.
The stopovers will allow the crew to rest and the planes to refuel but on the strict understanding that the personnel will not be allowed to leave the bases and a guarantee that no medical staff that have been directly in contact with infected patients will be on board any of the planes that land on Spanish soil.
It is believed that Spanish health officials will negotiate “strict protocols” with the Pentagon to ensure any personnel assisting in the unified assistance will not spread the virus.
Although the formal request already forms part of the Spain-US bilateral agreement, Madrid still retains the right to authorise landings and stopovers on “a case-by-case basis.”
For the US forces that are already based in Morón or Rota, the convention is handled separately; the military who are participating in the Ebola mission will return to Spain after their duties in Africa are over.
The request comes a month after Spain failed to respond to the United Nations when they applied for use of the airport in Las Palmas de Gran Canaría in the Canary Islands as a stopover for aircraft carrying medical staff and necessary equipment to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.