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Moroccans Return Home from Europe After COVID Hiatus

FILE: People arrive in Fnideq on May 17, 2022, after crossing in from the Spanish enclave of Ceuta as the land border between Morocco and Spain reopens after two years

Morocco expects to host the return of many of its nationals over the next two months as citizens living in Europe come back after COVID-19 halted one of the world’s largest cross-continental migrations.

Morocco has announced it will arrange special measures for its citizens returning from Europe in an effort lasting for two months starting June 14th.

The resumption of cross-strait travel on a large scale between Morocco and Spain comes after the two countries ended a year-long diplomatic dispute because of Western Sahara and not only because of COVID concerns.

The border closure due to COVID-19 was extended because of the dispute but a joint Spain-Morocco statement in April said they will immediately resume sea travel.

Morocco and Spain agreed to work together on the demarcation of Atlantic Sea borders and to reinforce cooperation on migration and culture.

IA statement from the Mohammed V Solidarity Foundation which organizes the effort, said late Saturday "Operation Marhaba [Welcome] for Moroccans living overseas begins on June 5".

More than 1,000 people, including doctors, social workers and volunteers, have signed up to help people arriving at ports and airports in Morocco.

Helpers will be stationed in the Spanish ports of Almeria and Algeciras, Marseille in France and Italy's Genoa, among others.

Most Moroccan migrants will return Morocco through sea travel from Spain

As many Moroccans head to Spanish coastal resorts for their holidays, travelling will go in both directions between Spain and Morocco.