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Morocco, Spain to Reopen Land Borders in Ceuta, Melilla

Morocco, Spain to Reopen Land Borders in Ceuta, Melilla

Friday, 13 May, 2022 - 09:15
Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita (L) receives the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, Jose Manuel Albares, in Marrakech, Morocco, 11 May 2022, as he arrives for the Ministerial Meeting of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS. (EPA)

The land borders between Morocco and Spain’s North African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla will reopen next week, Spain said Thursday, after being closed for more than two years due to COVID-19 restrictions and tensions between the two countries.

The two countries have “reached a definitive deal for the reopening of the land borders with Ceuta and Melilla in the coming days,” Spain’s Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares told journalists.

His remarks were made following talks with his Moroccan counterpart Nasser Bourita on the sidelines of the ministerial meeting of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS in the Moroccan city of Marrakech on Wednesday.

Tensions simmered between Morocco and Spain following a major dispute last year when Madrid allowed head of the Polisario Front Brahim Ghali to be treated for COVID-19 in a Spanish hospital.

Some ten thousand migrants surged across the Moroccan border into Ceuta as local border forces relaxed security measures.

In March, Spain moved to end the diplomatic crisis with Morocco by removing its decades-long stance of neutrality and backing the kingdom’s autonomy plan for the Western Sahara.

Morocco’s King Mohammed VI sent back the Moroccan ambassador to Spain 10 months after she was recalled and hosted Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez in an April visit to Rabat.

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