Madrid summoned the charge d’affaires of the Moroccan embassy in protest of Rabat’s accusation that Spain is failing to monitor the health status of travellers coming to Morocco during the COVID-19 pandemic, El Confidencial reported on Tuesday.
No official statement has been issued by Rabat in this regard, however, the newspaper reported unnamed diplomatic sources saying: “The Spanish foreign minister ordered today, Tuesday, to summon the Chargé d’Affaires of the Moroccan Embassy in Madrid Farid Oulhaj, in protest against a statement by the Moroccan Ministry of Health.”
On Monday, the Moroccan ministry said: “Portugal was chosen instead of Spain to deport Moroccans stranded in Europe, because of the lack of health monitoring of travellers by the Spanish authorities.”
It added that “Spain does not monitor the health status of travellers in the required and strict manner during the process of boarding through airports.”
The ministry continued: “There is no control of vaccination passports for travellers, and we have monitored several cases and infections with the Covid-19 virus upon arrival, or transit from Morocco, coming from Spain as part of special flights.”
The same statement stated that “travelling from Spain to Morocco poses a threat to the health of Moroccan citizens and a blow to the health gains achieved by the country.”
The relationship between Morocco and Spain witnessed a crisis as a result of Madrid hosting the head of the Polisario Front, Ibrahim Ghali, earlier this year after he was suspected of having contracted COVID-19.
Spanish authorities failed to inform the Moroccan government about the move.
Spain claims it was for humanitarian purposes but officials in Morocco called it an “unacceptable provocation” and threatened consequences.