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Morocco rejects EU resolution over Spain migrant influx

By AFP - Jun 13,2021 - Last updated at Jun 13,2021

RABAT — Morocco on Friday rejected a resolution by the European Parliament which accused Rabat of using migrants to apply "political pressure" on Spain as part of a weeks-long diplomatic crisis.

Last month, Spain was caught off guard when as many as 10,000 people surged into its tiny North African enclave of Ceuta, as Moroccan border guards looked the other way.

That was widely seen as a punitive move after Spain hosted the leader of Western Sahara's Polisario independence movement for medical treatment.

Western Sahara is a former Spanish colony where the Polisario took up arms to demand independence from Morocco during a 16-year conflict, that was until recently frozen by a 1991 ceasefire.

The European Parliament on Thursday passed a resolution, tabled by Madrid, rejecting "Morocco's use of border control and migration, and unaccompanied minors in particular, as political pressure against Spain."

It also deplored “the participation of children, unaccompanied minors and families [in the crossings], putting their lives and safety in clear danger”.

In its response on Friday, the Moroccan parliament said it “denounces the content of this resolution, which contains many untruths”.

It also reiterated its position that Ceuta is an “occupied Moroccan city”.

Morocco’s foreign affairs ministry said the European resolution would “not change the political nature of the bilateral crisis between Morocco and Spain” and said the issues underlying the stand-off with Spain had not yet been resolved.

Morocco has voiced willingness to work with Europe “to accept the return of unaccompanied and duly identified minors”.

Spain has said it hosted Polisario Front leader Brahim Ghali on humanitarian grounds, after he contracted COVID-19.

Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita said the situation was a “test of the strategic partnership” between the countries.

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