THE Moroccan government has told Spain that it intends to welcome back its citizens living abroad this summer.
Last year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the operation, known as ‘Paso del Estrecho’ (Crossing the Strait) in Spain and ‘Operation Marhaba’ (Welcome Operation) in Morocco, did not take place. It was cancelled by Morocco, which has had its borders closed to passengers for a year, allowing only goods to enter.
In the summer of 2019, when the operation (OPE) took place as normal, more than three million Moroccans returned to their homeland to spend the summer holidays, travelling through Spain and leaving mainly from Algeciras and Tarifa in Cadiz, as well as other ports in the south of Spain.
According to the Moroccan press, citing Assahifa Arabic, have reported that the Moroccan Government has transmitted their plans to the Spanish Government, although, of course, it will ultimately depend on the epidemiological situation.
They report that the situation at the border posts of Ceuta and Melilla, in North Africa, has not been discussed, nor has it been revealed whether they would be part of the operation.
So far, there has been no official response from Spain regarding whether the OPE will go ahead, and local Spanish news source 8Directo reported that the central government and the authorities at Algeciras Port have not made an official statement.
However, Algeciras Port has begun to prepare for the event, which would need to be carried out with the proper hygienic, sanitary and security measures to avoid possible contagions of Covid-19, both for the outbound transit to North Africa and for the return.
Many Moroccans who are legally residing in Spain, a population of more than 815,000, have not been able to see their relatives there since the onset of the pandemic.
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