16 Juin 2020 - Par Yahia Hatim

Morocco Repatriates 108 Citizens Stranded in Canary Islands

Rabat – Morocco repatriated 108 citizens stranded in the Canary Islands, including five infants, on Monday, June 15.

The Moroccan tourists who were left stranded in the Spanish archipelago since Morocco closed its international borders in mid-March came back home aboard a plane belonging to Royal Air Maroc.

The flight departed from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria Airport and landed in Laayoune’s Hassan I Airport, in southern Morocco.

Morocco’s General Consulate in Las Palmas and the Moroccan Embassy in Madrid initiated the operation in coordination with Spanish authorities.

The repatriation flight carried mostly elderly Moroccans and those who suffer from chronic illnesses or are in precarious financial situations.

The operation brings the total number of Moroccans repatriated from Spain in the past week to more than 1,000.

On June 10, three Moroccan flights carried 310 stranded citizens from Andalusia, southern Spain, to Tetouan, northern Morocco.

On June 12, a similar operation benefited 289 Moroccans stranded in central Spain, with flights departing from Madrid and landing in Oujda, northeastern Morocco.

Finally, on the same day of the flight departing from the Canary Islands, three planes brought 318 Moroccans from Catalonia to Oujda.

All repatriated nationals are required to undergo a nine-day quarantine period with daily medical monitoring before they can return to their homes. The quarantine takes place in tourist resorts.

On June 9, Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nasser Bourita, revealed the country’s strategy to repatriate its citizens stranded abroad.

Speaking before the House of Councillors, Bourita said the repatriation will begin with Moroccans stranded in Andalusia, then Madrid, Catalonia, and the Basque region.

After bringing home Moroccans stranded in Spain, Morocco will repatriate its citizens stranded in Turkey, the Gulf countries, France, and other African states.

The operations will prioritize Moroccans who went abroad on short tourist visas, as well as those who are in a precarious financial situation, or suffer from critical health conditions.

The repatriation will not include Moroccans who left the country to seek permanent residency or employment abroad, Bourita said.

Unlike other countries, the state will bear all the costs related to repatriation, he added.

The struggle of Moroccans stranded abroad began on March 15 when Morocco decided to close its international borders to curb the spread of COVID-19. The move left hundreds of thousands of foreign tourists stranded in Morocco and thousands of Moroccans stuck abroad.

While the Moroccan government quickly began facilitating the repatriation of tourists stranded in Morocco, it only launched the first operation to repatriate Moroccan citizens in mid-May.

While the number of Moroccans stranded abroad is unclear, Moroccan embassies and consulates across the world received repatriation requests from at least 33,000 Moroccans.

So far, Moroccan authorities have repatriated Moroccans from the Spanish enclaves in northern Morocco, the Spanish-controlled Canary Islands, mainland Spain,  and Algeria.

The post Morocco Repatriates 108 Citizens Stranded in Canary Islands appeared first on Morocco World News.

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