The minister delegate said 10,744 Moroccans who were stranded abroad have arrived home on more than 74 repatriation flights.
Rabat – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced that Morocco assisted the return of 45,309 Moroccans residing abroad (MREs) to their countries of residence after they became stuck in Morocco due to border closures.
The issue of repatriating Moroccans stranded abroad is not the sole problem the government has faced amid the COVID-19-induced state of emergency. Thousands of members of the Moroccan diaspora who were in Morocco when the country closed its borders have been calling on the government to allow them to return to their countries of residence.
The minister delegate to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nezha El Ouafi, said the foreign ministry set up a central committee in charge of accompanying MREs who have been blocked in Morocco and helped repatriate tens of thousands to their countries of residence.
El Ouafi vowed that the “few MREs who have not been able to leave the kingdom will soon be able to do so both by air and by sea.”
She added that Morocco is scheduling maritime trips from July 13-20, which will allow nearly 1,800 members of the Moroccan diaspora to return to their residences in Europe.
Moroccans stranded abroad
Regarding the situation of Moroccans stranded abroad, El Ouafi said that as of July 1, the government has repatriated 10,744 citizens through more than 74 flights.
She said the repatriation process has been accelerated since mid-May after Morocco strengthened health systems and hospital capacities to ensure the security of citizens.
The minister delegate reiterated the recent comments of Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita, who said that the country will not carry out 2020 Operation Marhaba, an annual campaign to assist the transit of the Moroccan diaspora in Europe across the Strait of Gibraltar for summer holidays.
El Ouafi said the operation remains linked to a “set of factors and considerations, mainly the evolution of the epidemiological situation in the kingdom, but also in their countries of residence and transit.”
She said the organization of the operation also depends on the opening of the maritime, land, and air borders of Morocco and of the countries involved in the operation.
Morocco has not yet announced when it will open its borders, which have been closed since March, but local media have predicted that borders will open after the state of emergency ends on July 10.
El Ouafi promised that the country is working on an urgent action plan in both the short and medium terms to support MREs facing challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
She explained that “these measures mainly relate to the creation of a digital space dedicated to MREs on the various digital platforms of public establishments and local authorities,” as well as the strengthening of protection and social support.