Carrot & Stick: Spain sends money, troops to help Morocco stop illegal migrants to Europe
London, May 19, 2021 (AltAfrica)- Spain has approved 30 million euros to assist Morocco in its efforts to curb irregular migration, according to El Pais.
The approval of the financial aid comes in the wake of the sudden arrival of more than 8,000 irregular migrants in Ceuta from Northern Morocco. The dove of irregular migrants crossed to the Spanish enclave amid an ongoing diplomatic rift between Morocco and Spain.
El Pais reported that the financial aid was already considered when determining state budgets, adding that the approval date was already set up last week before yesterday’s migration incident.
The Spanish news outlet said that Morocco will use the financial aid to fund the deployment of regular patrols, maritime border surveillance, and the repair and maintenance of surveillance equipment.
Despite the financial assistance, Spain has also deployed troops after record numbers of migrants entered its north African enclave of Ceuta from Morocco.
The migrants – who include about 1,500 minors – either swam around the border fences that jut out into the sea or walked across at low tide.
Spain’s Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez has vowed to restore order. Spain says it has already sent some 2,700 migrants back – but not the minors.
Cancelling a trip to Paris, the prime minister travelled to Ceuta and Melilla to deal with the crisis, seen as the worst diplomatic spat with Morocco for 20 years. Morocco withdrew its ambassador, Karima Benyaich, for consultations after Spain’s foreign minister told the envoy of her “disgust” at what had happened.
Most of the migrants are said to be from Morocco. The Spanish troops have been deployed to the beach to help border police at Ceuta’s main entry point – Tarajal, on the enclave’s south side.
Dramatic scenes were captured offshore as families waded through the water and officers from Spain’s Guardia Civil went into the sea to rescue young children.
The influx comes amid renewed tension over Western Sahara, a territory occupied by Spain until 1975, when Morocco annexed it. Since then it has been disputed between Morocco and the indigenous Sahrawi people, led by the Polisario Front.