Spain, Morocco reopen land border crossings as ties improve

May 16, 2022, 2:29 PM | Updated: May 17, 2022, 4:51 am
FILE - Moroccans, including many who have been in the Spanish enclave of Ceuta since before the bor...

FILE - Moroccans, including many who have been in the Spanish enclave of Ceuta since before the border crisis, wait at the border to return voluntarily to their home country, Thursday, May 20, 2021. The land borders between Spain and Morocco at Ceuta and Melilla, Spain’s North African enclave cities, have begun to reopen on Tuesday, May 17, 2022 after being closed for just over two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic and later a diplomatic crisis between the two countries. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue, File)

(AP Photo/Bernat Armangue, File)

MADRID (AP) — The land borders between Spain and Morocco at Ceuta and Melilla, Spain’s North African enclave cities, have begun to reopen after being closed for just over two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic and later a diplomatic crisis between the two countries.

Crowds gathered at the first border to reopen — Tarajal, in Ceuta, and Beni Enzar in Melilla — to witness the reopening at midnight Monday.

Crossings have been initially limited to residents of Europe’s passport-free Schengen area and their family members, and will be expanded to cross-border workers by the end of the month.

Melilla regional President Eduardo de Castro told Spanish state radio RNE that traffic in the first hours had gone as planned.

“Things are completely normal, there are no massive crowds,” he said, adding that he expected it will take “several months” for customs controls to be re-established.

The local economies on both sides of the fences that slice off the tiny Spanish enclaves from Morocco in northwest Africa depend heavily on the crossings of goods and workers.

Madrid and Rabat are pushing to mend relations after a year-long spat centered on the disputed region of Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony annexed by Morocco in 1976.

The reopening of land borders Tuesday came exactly a year after Morocco loosened its controls around Ceuta, allowing thousands of migrants to cross into Spain. That move was widely seen as retaliation for Spain’s decision to allow the leader of Western Sahara’s pro-independence movement to be treated for COVID-19 at a Spanish hospital.

Tensions began to thaw earlier this year after Spain backed Morocco’s plan to grant more autonomy to Western Sahara, which has angered many in the former colony who want full independence.

Ferry traffic between the two countries resumed several weeks ago.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

A Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 is a medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) unmanned combat aerial vehi...
Associated Press

Lithuanian crowdfunding drive gets Ukraine an armed drone

VILNIUS, Lithuania (AP) — Lithuania will present a combat drone to Ukraine that was donated by the Turkish manufacturer after a private crowdfunding campaign among ordinary Lithuanians, who raised nearly 6 million euros ($6.1 million) for the purpose within days. The campaign’s success inspired Turkey’s Baykar defense company, which makes the Bayraktar TB2 drone, to […]
1 day ago
Prime Minister Boris Johnson enters 10 Downing Street, after reading a statement in London, Thursda...
Associated Press

What’s next for UK? Boris Johnson quits, but not gone yet

LONDON (AP) — Boris Johnson has caved in to a Conservative Party revolt after months of ethics scandals and resigned as party leader, but he remains Britain’s prime minister — for now — while a successor is chosen. With British politics in turmoil, here’s a look at what will happen next: CONSERVATIVE CONTEST Johnson’s resignation […]
1 day ago
Abortion-rights activists chant after handcuffing themselves to the front steps of Los Angeles City...
Associated Press

EU Parliament condemns US abortion ruling, seeks safeguards

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union’s parliament on Thursday overwhelmingly condemned the end of constitutional protections for abortion in the United States and called for such safeguards to be enshrined in the EU’s fundamental rights charter. In a 324-155 vote with 38 abstentions, European Parliament lawmakers adopted a resolution that crystalized the anger seen in […]
1 day ago
A hiring sign is displayed at a gas station as a customer walks past in Buffalo Grove, Ill., Thursd...
Associated Press

U.S. jobless claims rise to 235k, most in nearly six months

WASHINGTON (AP) — More Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week and while layoffs remain low, it was the fifth consecutive week that claims topped the 230,000 mark and the most in almost six months. Applications for jobless aid for the week ending July 2 rose to 235,000, up 4,000 from the previous week and […]
1 day ago
FILE - From left, British Health Secretary Sajid Javid, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak and...
Associated Press

Conservative contenders who could succeed Boris Johnson

LONDON (AP) — A Conservative leadership contest will take place in coming weeks after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Thursday he is resigning as the party’s leader — though he will continue to serve as prime minister until a successor is elected by party members. A look at the candidates who could succeed Johnson […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Poland, Lithuania leaders meet troops at NATO bottleneck

SZYPLISZKI, Poland (AP) — The presidents of Poland and Lithuania planned to meet NATO troops on both sides of their border Thursday to demonstrate the alliance’s defense readiness at a location regarded as a strategically important bottleneck. The 70-kilometer (43-mile) Suwalki Gap is wedged between Russia’s exclave of Kaliningrad and Belarus, a Russia ally. It […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
...

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]
...

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]
...

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
Spain, Morocco reopen land border crossings as ties improve