Tag Archives: Morocco

W.Sahara leader returns to Algeria

Brussels 02.06.2021 The leader of the Western Sahara independence movement, Brahim Ghali, returned to Algeria on Wednesday, Juin 2, after spending more than a month in hospital in Spain – a stay which triggered a diplomatic row between Spain and Morocco. (Image above: illustration)

“He arrived safe and sound,” commented the trip Jalil Mohamed, the Polisario Front’s spokesman in Spain.

Algerian state television later showed President Abdelmadjid Tebboune visiting Ghali in hospital, but gave no details of their discussion between them.

Rabat has not yet commented on Ghali’s departure from Spain but had previously informed that it would not alone resolve the dispute.

The Algeria-backed Polisario Front is fighting for the independence of Western Sahara, which was a Spanish colony until the mid-1970s and nowadays is claimed by Morocco.

Ghali flew to Algeria from Pamplona in northern Spain at 1:40 a.m. local time on Wednesday, Juin 2, on an officially chartered private plane, the spokesman for Polisario Front said.

Ghali, who was suffering from COVID-19 complications, had been admitted to a Spanish hospital in April on humanitarian grounds, the Madrid government said.

The Polisario leader left Spain several hours after appearing remotely in a hearing with Spanish high court on a war crimes case. Following the hearing, judges did not impose any restrictions on the Polisario leader and allowed him to leave the country.

Spain’s decision to admit Ghali to a hospital in the northern Spanish city of Logrono, presenting Algerian documents and without informing Rabat, the move visibly upset Morocco.

Moroccan officials suggested that last month’s sudden influx of migrants to Spain’s North African enclave of Ceuta after security forces appeared to loosen border controls was a form of retaliation.

Algerian support for the Polisario Front independence movement is a also source of anger in Morocco.

Morocco demands clarity from Madrid

Brussels 23.05.2021 Morocco urged Spain to open an investigation into the circumstances of a Western Sahara independence leader’s arrival in the country for medical treatment and explain its findings to Rabat.
The Moroccan ambassador to Madrid H.E.Karima Benyaich has described the moment that Spanish-Moroccan relations are going through as a “serious crisis” and so she has spoken in a statement in Spanish read at the Moroccan Foreign Ministry after meeting with the minister of that portfolio, Naser Burita.

Being in Rabat, the Moroccan ambassador to Spain, H.E.Karima Benyaich, warned on May 21 that if the Government in Madrid opted to return the leader of the Polisario Front, Brahim Gali – hospitalized in Logroño diagnosed with Covid-19 for a month – “with opacity” that would imply “opting for the stagnation and worsening of bilateral relations”.

Benyaich was the first Moroccan representative to articulate on the massive arrival of migrants to Ceuta that began this Monday, May 17, in contrast to the silence that the Rabat authorities maintained during the first days of the migration crisis. This Tuesday, before meeting in Madrid with the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Arancha González Laya, the Moroccan diplomat slipped to Europa Press a veiled reference to the presence of the Polisario leader in Spain, which annoyed Rabat: “There are acts that have consequences and they have to be assumed ”, the Moroccan diplomat said.

This Friday, May 21, already in Rabat, where the diplomat has been called for consultations, the ambassador has been much more explicit. What happens with Gali “is a test for the independence of the Spanish Justice, in which we fully trust,” she pointed out. And also another test to know if Spain “chooses to strengthen its relations with Morocco or prefer to collaborate with its enemies”, in the opinion of Benyaich, for whom Spain “has unfortunately opted for opacity to act behind Morocco’s back, welcoming and protecting this criminal and executioner using humanitarian reasons as a pretext and thus offending the dignity of the Moroccan people ”.

On February 27, the Polisario Front marked the 45th anniversary of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, which it declared in 1976 to be the rightful government of the territory of Western Sahara. During the celebration – which took place in the refugee camps of Tindouf, in the Algerian desert, where the seat of the SADR government is located – the Polisario decried the continuing political impasse over the territory, which Morocco also claims. The deadlock must be broken – and the European Union should help.

The EU’s connections to Western Sahara are extensive. Beyond their geographical proximity, Western Sahara is a former Spanish colony with deeply rooted and often personal ties to Spain. For the thousands of Spaniards who have shared their homes with young Sahrawis summer after summer, the issue of Western Sahara is a heartbreaking family affair.

After Morocco took control of Western Sahara, the Sahrawis faced mass displacement, and many now languish in desert camps, with few options but to depend on humanitarian aid. Now, they may be about to become even more vulnerable. Although Western Sahara has been in limbo for decades, a series of recent developments raises the specter of a new wave of violence, which could hurt the Sahrawis above all.

Brahim Ghali (pictured), leader of the Polisario Front which wants independence for Western Sahara, is receiving medical treatment in Spain, angering Morocco which annexed the former Spanish colony decades ago.

Morocco has urged Spain to open an investigation into the circumstances of a Western Sahara independence leader’s Brahim Ghali arrival in the country for medical treatment and explain its findings to Rabat.

Madrid should explain “the conditions, circumstances and connivances that led to the fraudulent entry of this person using false documents and a usurped identity”, Foreign Ministry Director General Fouad Yazourh said on Saturday, May 22.

W.Sahara: Borrell insists on respect of ceasefire

The High Representative Josep Borrell met this Sunday, November 15, with the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Morocco Nasser Bourita and of Algeria Sabri Boukadoum, to learn about the latest developments in the El Guerguerat area, following the latest events that took place there.

The High Representative recalled on this occasion the full support of the EU for the efforts of the United Nations and its Secretary General with a view to finding a peaceful settlement to the question of Western Sahara, in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the Security Council of the United Nations. United Nations and especially of the last resolution (2548) adopted on October 30, 2020. In this context, he wished for a rapid resumption of discussions under the leadership of the United Nations and a new Personal Envoy of the Secretary General of the United Nations for Western Sahara.

In particular, the High Representative underlined the paramount importance of ensuring respect for the ceasefire agreements in place since 1991 and reiterated the full support of the EU for MINURSO’s efforts to this end. In this context, the Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs assured the High Representative of his country’s commitment to respect for the ceasefire.

The High Representative also particularly insisted on the preservation of freedom of movement and cross-border trade in the El Guerguerat area, and its significant impact on the entire Maghreb and Sahel region, a region of strategic importance. A political solution to the question of Western Sahara is essential for regional cooperation between the Maghreb countries, the stability, security and prosperity of the region, and this even more in view of the current economic difficulties of the Covid-19 pandemic .

Spain categorically condemns the acts committed on Sunday by some participants in a rally (…) in front of the Consulate General of Morocco in Valencia,” said the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation in a statement.
These madmen entered the consulate building in an attempt to place the flag of the so-called “RASD” there, “thus undermining the inviolability, integrity and dignity of the consular headquarters”, underlines the Spanish ministry . “No demonstration exercised within the framework of the right of assembly can degenerate into illegal actions, like the attempt perpetrated on Sunday, which constitutes a flagrant violation of the legislation in force”, affirms the Spanish diplomacy”.

Polisario declares “state of war”

Brussels, 13.11.2020 The Polisario Front claims to have caused fatalities in Morocco and “considerable material losses”, through four bombings carried out on four military bases, among them, those of Mahbes, Hauza, Auserd, and two guard posts, according to the Saharawi organization through a statement issued at early hours on November 13 and 14, according to El Pais newspaper.
Furthermore the general secretary of the Polisario Front and president of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), Bahim Ghali, announced this Saturday, November 14, that he considers the ceasefire signed with Morocco in 1991 broken, and held that Rabat responsible for the consequences of the conflict around the Guerguerat border crossing.

In a statement, Ghali assures that the Sahrawi armed forces assume control of national security and declare a state of war.

Morocco clashes with Polisario

Brussels 13.11.2020 Morocco announced it launched on Friday, November 13 an operation to end what it assessed as “serious provocations” by the Polisario Front, a rebel national movement which for decades has called for regional independence in Western Sahara. (Image: illustration).

Tensions have been mounting for three weeks between Morocco and the Polisario Front before Rabat launched a military operation at the southern Guerguerat border crossing, where the Polisario has been refusing entry of Moroccan trucks from passing into neighbouring Mauritania.

“In the face of serious and unacceptable provocations by the Polisario militia, in the buffer zone of Guerguerat in the Moroccan Sahara, Morocco decided to act in full respect for the powers vested in it,” the Moroccan Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The ministry underlined that Morocco had “no other choice but to assume its responsibilities in order to put an end to the state of obstruction resulting from these movements and re-establish freedom of civil and commercial movement.”
Morocco on Friday announced it launched an operation to end what it called “serious provocations” by the Polisario Front, an Algeria-backed movement which for decades has called for regional independence in Western Sahara.

Tensions mounting for three weeks between Morocco and the Polisario Front precipitated in Rabat’s operation on the southern Guerguerat border crossing, as a result of the group’s barring entry of Moroccan trucks from passing into neighboring Mauritania.

“In the face of serious and unacceptable provocations by the Polisario militia, in the buffer zone of Guerguerat in the Moroccan Sahara, Morocco decided to act in full respect for the powers vested in it,” the Moroccan Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The ministry underlined that Morocco had “no other choice but to assume its responsibilities in order to put an end to the state of obstruction resulting from these movements and re-establish freedom of civil and commercial movement.”

COVID19: Morocco removed from EU travel list

The European Union removed Morocco from its safe travel list of countries from which the bloc allows non-essential voyage, after a review by EU ambassadors on August 7, Friday.

Morocco recorded a record high of 6,385 new cases of contamination in the past week, according to a statistics by the Johns Hopkins University. The official soruces in Morocco have reported a total of 29,644 cases and 449 deaths.

The list is recommended as guideline for the EU’s 27 members, proposing to EU members not to open their borders to all the countries which are not included into safe travel list.

It is based on criteria including the monitoring of number of new COVID-19 cases recorded in a country over the fortnight, whether its case load per 100,000 people is in line with the EU average, and testing capacities.

The decision reduces the list to 10 countries, and it takes effect from August 8, after the EU also excluded Algeria last week.

The safe countries deemed to have the coronavirus pandemic largely under control are Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, and Uruguay.

China has been approved, although travel would reumed on reciprocity basis only.

Spain-Morocco territorial waters talks

Foreign ministers of Spain and Morocco announced their countries would hold talks about overlapping areas of ocean that they both claim rights to in the North Atlantic.
The Spanish foreign minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya (pictured) traveled to Morocco on January 24 amid diplomatic tension over Rabat’s attempt to take control of waters close to Canary Islands.

The territorial waters Morocco has claimed include the coast off Western Sahara, a territory that has been contested between Rabat and the Algerian-backed Polisario Front since the end of Spanish colonial era in 1975.

Morocco’s parliament passed two bills this week to give domestic legal grounds to a coastal area the North African country already controls, causing concern about Canary Islands, where the Madrid warned of overlaps with Spanish territorial waters.

Morocco’s foreign minister Nasser Bourita said that defining territorial waters was a “sovereign right” and that his country aimed to upgrade domestic law in compliance with the UN law of the sea convention.

“In case of overlaps, international law requires states to negotiate,” said Bourita following talks with his Spanish peer, Arancha Gonzalez Laya.

Morocco rejects unilateral acts and “fait accompli,” he said, adding that Spain was a “strategic partner” and Morocco’s largest trading partner.

Gonzalez Laya said Morocco’s willingness to negotiate “reassures the Canary Islands”.

Morocco is a source of stability for Spain,” Arancha Gonzalez Laya said, pointing at “close cooperation” in the fight against jihadists and illegal migration.

Morocco anti-terrorist raids continue

Morocco arrested a Swiss-Spanish double national on December 29 in connection with the killing of two Scandinavian tourists (pictured above), the counter-terrorism agency confirmed.

The authorities said he also held Spanish nationality with residence in Morocco.

The suspect was arrested for “involvement in recruiting Moroccan and sub-Saharan nationals to carry out terrorist plots in Morocco against foreign targets and security forces in order to take hold of their service weapons”, the Central Bureau for Judicial Investigations (BCIJ) said.

Nineteen other men have been arrested in connection with the case, including four main suspects who had pledged allegiance to Islamic State in a video made three days before the tourists’ before killings of Scandinavian women.

However police and domestic intelligence spokesman Boubker Sabik this week described the four men as “lone wolves”, and said “the crime was not coordinated with Islamic State”.

Mutilated corpses of Louisa Vesterager Jespersen, 24, from Denmark, and Maren Ueland, 28, from Norway were found by passing by tourists on December 17 near the village of Imlil in the Atlas Mountains.

 

Black magic hits illegal migrants

Black magicians became an integral part of illegal migration business, encouraging migrants with enchanting rituals to gamble their lives, attempting to reach Europe, crossing Sahara desert and Mediterranean sea. However it is unclear if the attempts to neutralize  their efforts with counter-magic brought any fruit. Some believe the curse will work as an effective measure against human trafficking, the others relay on traditional fences and guards.

Earlier this year Oba Ewuare II, leader of the historic Kingdom of Benin in southern Nigeria, invoked curses on anyone who used witchcraft to help illegal migration. In spite of hopes the measure did not bring a striking difference in number of arrivals of illegal migrants.

The generous EU funds allocated to Maghreb countries in attempt to protect EU borders from flows of illegal migrants from sub-Saharan Africa clearly indicate the limited effects of voodoo curse, flavoring regular fences and guards. In September the Kingdom of Morocco received $275 million EU aid to strengthen border protection.

 

 

Illegal migrants storm fences in Spain

A several hundreds of migrants from sub-Saharan Africa entered Spain after storming a double barrier between Morocco and the Spanish territory of Ceuta, with some attacking security forces with quicklime, police reported.

The scramble over the barrier is the biggest in Ceuta since February 2017, when more than 850 migrants entered the overseas territory over four days. Today around 600 illegals migrantes participated in breaking into Spanish territory.

At present Spain becomes the number one destination for illegal migrants crossing the Mediterranean by boat, surpassing Italy with 19,586 arrivals so far this year, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

A spokesman for the Guardia Civil police force in #Ceuta told AFP the migrants managed to climb over the double barrier, which is covered in small blades, early on Thursday morning, June 26.

They scrambled over “all of a sudden, with much violence,” and some attacked police with quicklime they had in tubes and bottles.

As a result, “more than a dozen police” were injured, four of whom had to go to hospital for burns in the face and arms.

“There is no possible justification for an organized, illegal, massive and violent assault on a border like today’s : 600 young and strong men have wounded viciously and used quicklime against  22 agents. All my support and admiration for the Guardia Civil” – wrote in her Twitter microblog Beatriz Becerra, MEP, vice-chair of the Subcommittee of Human rights of the European Parliament.

Spanish citizens are waiting for the reaction of government on this outbreak of violence.

AMENDMENT: Spanish newspaper El Pais reports total more than “800 illegal migrants from sub-Sanitarian Africa without documents” early morning hours stormed the border between Ceuta and Marocco.

 

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