Operation Marhaba 2021 may be replaced by exceptional trips for Moroccans living abroad

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The Minister Delegate to the Minister of Foreign Affairs in charge of Moroccans living abroad, said on Tuesday, May 11, 2021 that preparations are underway to prepare the transit and return of Moroccans living abroad. Their return to the Kingdom will be made either through the organization of Operation Marhaba 2021 or via an exceptional transit operation, said Nezha El Ouafi, speaking before the House of Councillors.

The Minister Delegate recalled that despite the exceptional situation, a meeting of the National Committee for the transit operation was held on April 19, under the chairmanship of the Ministry of the Interior. A meeting during which the measures and procedures related to the organization of Operation Marhaba at different levels were reviewed and studied by all the stakeholders. «The parties in charge expressed their availability and their full preparation for all possible scenarios», assured the El Ouafi.

Nezha El Ouafi reaffirmed that Morocco's decision concerns the form of the process that the operation will take this year, recalling that several factors and considerations would determine whether it would take place and how. She thus cited the evolution of the epidemiological situation in Morocco and the host countries of Moroccans living abroad, the opening of the land, sea and air borders of Morocco and the countries concerned by this operation and the capacity of the countries to organize it, especially Spain.

The Minister Delegate recalled that Morocco canceled the Operation Marhaba 2020, and only organized special trips, which allowed the return of 45,000 Moroccans and the entry of 22,000 vehicles, through connections maritime links between Tanger Med and Nador to Sète in France and Genoa in Italy, among others. Normally, Operation Marhaba, which takes place in collaboration with the Spanish authorities, facilitates the return of around 3 million Moroccans living abroad each summer.

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