The Moroccan authorities have aborted some 40,300 illegal emigration attempts since January 2019 so far, said the wali, director of migration and border surveillance at the Interior Ministry, Khalid Zerouali.
This figure represents an increase of 25% compared to the same period of 2018, said Zerouali in an interview with the Spanish newspaper El Pais, published Monday, July 8.
“Our border control has helped to alleviate the migratory pressure, but we must continue to work to strengthen this system,” said the Moroccan official to the Iberian daily, on the sidelines of his participation last week in Madrid at the Thematic Meeting on “cooperation between countries of origin, transit and destination in the field of border management”, co-chaired by Morocco and Spain.
“It is true that on the Spanish side we feel that the migratory pressure has decreased, but on our side, it continues to increase”, insisted Mr. Zerouali.
The Spanish media underlines in this regard that Morocco has “acquired a new protagonism” which “places it now at the heart of the negotiations in Europe”, noting that the European Union (EU) is called to support more the Kingdom for a greater collaboration between the two parties.
“Morocco is fully assuming its responsibilities in its territorial waters and the debate should focus on the fight against traffickers, because they are the ones who endanger the lives of immigrants,” said Zerouali, noting that “Morocco is under pressure” and the “pressure exerted by the security forces in the north opens new fronts in the south” of the Kingdom.
“The networks have become sophisticated, now the candidates for illegal immigration are trying to leave from the south of Casablanca, there are also attempts to reach the Canary Islands” from the coast between Agadir and Dahkla, said the Moroccan official.
Some 10,475 immigrants reached the Spanish coast at the end of June, down 27.4% from the same period of 2018, according to figures from the Spanish Ministry of the Interior.