Spain, Morocco reach agreement to limit irregular migration

Spain, Morocco reach agreement to limit irregular migration

Agency News

Moscow, Feb 21: Spain and Morocco have agreed a deal that can help limit migration flows to Europe, Spanish media reported on Thursday.

Spanish rescue services will be able to take some migrants saved at sea back to Morocco ports if the rescue took place in the area overseen by the Moroccan Coast Guard, El Pais newspaper reported, citing sources in the Spanish government.

The returns will happen during joint rescue missions of Spanish services and the Moroccan Coast Guard, according to the newspaper.

Rabat is spending 40 million euros ($45million) annually to stem migrant flows, Moroccan Ambassador to Russia Abdelkader Lesheheb told Sputnik, commenting on the reports about the deal.

"We contribute each year 40 million euros just to control our territory and [to prevent] these migrants to go to Spain and other countries ... We wait for some assistance from Europe, financial support," Lesheheb said on the sidelines of a roundtable on Israeli-Palestinian settlement in Moscow.

In January, Madrid urged Brussels to unblock the 140 million euros of EU funding that were promised to Morocco to help limit migration flows. Spanish Secretary of State for Migration Consuelo Rumi said Rabat had received only 30 million so far.

According to the UN migration Agency, a total of 4,889 migrants have arrived in Spain via the Mediterranean Sea in the period between January 1 and February 17. It is the highest number of arrivals through the Mediterranean route, with 2.763 arrivals in Greece in the same period and 227 in Italy. (UNI)