The crossing points that separate Sebta and Melilla from Morocco will remain closed until March 31 due to the health crisis caused by covid-19, according to the Official Journal of the State (BOE) on Friday said the agency. Spanish press EFE. Indeed, it is the Ministry of the Interior which published a new extension of the closure of the borders between the presidents and the Kingdom of Morocco.
The BOE indicates that this Friday a new extension of decree INT / 657/2020, of July 17, which modifies the criteria for applying a temporary restriction on non-essential travel from third countries to the European Union and countries Schengen associates for reasons of public order and public health due to the health crisis caused by COVID-19. The border of Tarajal de Sebta and the border of Beni Anzar in Melilla have been closed as a reminder since March 13, 2020, and the establishment of the state of emergency and containment due to covid-19.
Since that date, only citizens of Spain and other countries of the European Union who remained trapped in Morocco have been exceptionally authorized to cross the border of the two presidents to their countries. More than 500 Moroccans still live in Sebta in private or family homes according to the media. The borders of Ceuta and Melilla with Morocco will therefore remain closed by the decree of the Ministry of the Interior alluding to rare exceptions (diplomatic, military, health, etc.).
There is no scheduled date for their opening since depending on the evolution of the pandemic, it could be extended even more. In addition, there is still no date for the announced Hispano-Moroccan summit, which was postponed to last December, in theory due to the pandemic but according to many “specialists” because of the statements of the vice-president. of the Iglesias government on the Moroccan Sahara and the Polisario Front. This question, especially after the recognition by the United States of the Moroccan character of the former Spanish Sahara, has become a matter of state in Spain, because Morocco’s position on this issue has strengthened considerably.
Maintaining the closure posed problems for people of Moroccan nationality who were trapped in the autonomous towns. Some of them were repatriated with the opening of the borders in good time, others not. However, those closures sparked some massive protests in neighboring towns of Sebta, where the ban on crossing the border was demanded to be lifted at least for those who worked there.