Tag Archives: Morocco

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.

 

Nestlé cancelled campaign in Morocco over sexist complaints

The Swiss food giant Nestlé has cancelled an online publicity campaign in Morocco after  social media users protested against its sexist content.

The mini-series, titled I Want to Get Married, featured five young women competing to win a husband by impressing by cooking skills his mother.

The first episode saw the would-be brides asked to make a dessert using Nestlé condensed milk.

Nestlé says it “sincerely regrets” that the content offended some viewers.

A number of Moroccans had lambasted the campaign, saying it was degrading and outdated to pick a wife as a ‘kitchen slave’.

Saharawi challenge EU-Morocco fishery deal

The European Union’s fisheries agreement with Morocco should be declared invalid because it includes the disputed territory of Western Sahara, an adviser to the EU’s top court said.

The EU and Morocco concluded an association agreement in 1996 and a partnership agreement in the fisheries sector in 2006, the validity of which was disputed by campaign groups in Britain.

“The fisheries exploitation by the EU of the waters adjacent to Western Sahara established and implemented by the contested acts does not respect the right of the people of Western Sahara to self-determination,” Advocate General Melchior Wathelet said.

The court often follows the Advocate General’s advice, but is not obliged to do so.

At present the territories of Western Sahara are partially controlled by the self-proclaimed Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic.

In 2016, the European Union (EU) declared that “Western Sahara is not part of Moroccan territory”. In March 2016, Morocco “expelled more than 70 U.N. civilian staffers with MINURSO” due to strained relations after UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called Morocco’s annexation of Western Sahara an “occupation”.