Spain extends the closure of the border with Morocco in enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla

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Spain announced on Saturday that it extended the closure of the border with Morocco of its two enclaves in North Africa, Ceuta and Melilla, for 15 days, a suspension that has lasted since the start of the pandemic.

The closure, established during the first wave of covid-19 in the spring of 2020, was maintained due to the diplomatic crisis between Spain and Morocco in 2021 due to their differences over the status of Western Sahara.

The crossing was scheduled to open on Saturday, April 30 at midnight, as announced by the Spanish Ministry of the Interior.

But, according to the Official State Gazette, the closure of the border will be prolonged for 15 days “while the conditions for the orderly and progressive reopening of the land posts” of Ceuta and Melilla are finished.

For its part, the Ministry of the Interior indicated that “a reinforcement of police forces in both Ceuta and Melilla” was implemented.

In March, Spain and Morocco opened a new stage in their relations after a year of suspension of ties due to the issue of Western Sahara after Madrid recognized Rabat’s autonomy plan for this disputed territory.

The reconciliation was sealed by a visit to Rabat by the head of the Spanish government Pedro Sánchez, and on April 12 the ferry from the peninsula to the Moroccan town of Tangier returned to work.

The conflict in the former Spanish colony of Western Sahara, a vast desert area bordered by waters rich in fish and abundant mineral resources considered a “non-autonomous territory” by the UN, has pitted Morocco against pro-independence Polisario Front for decades.

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