The European Parliament passed a resolution, tabled by Madrid, rejecting “Morocco’s use of border control and migration, and unaccompanied minors in particular, as political pressure against Spain.”

Spanish legionnaires regroup the minors at El Tarajal beach, near the fence between the Spanish-Moroccan border, after thousands of migrants swam across this border in recent days, in Ceuta, Spain, May 18, 2021.
Spanish legionnaires regroup the minors at El Tarajal beach, near the fence between the Spanish-Moroccan border, after thousands of migrants swam across this border in recent days, in Ceuta, Spain, May 18, 2021. (Reuters)

Morocco has rejected a resolution by the European Parliament which accused Rabat of using migrants to apply "political pressure" on Spain as part of a weeks-long diplomatic crisis.

Last month, Spain was caught off guard when as many as 10,000 people surged into its tiny North African enclave of Ceuta, as Moroccan border guards looked the other way.

Western Sahara is a former Spanish colony where the Polisario took up arms to demand independence from Morocco during a 16-year conflict, that was until recently frozen by a 1991 ceasefire.

That was widely seen as a punitive move after Spain hosted the leader of Western Sahara's Polisario independence movement for medical treatment.

The European Parliament on Thursday passed a resolution, tabled by Madrid, rejecting "Morocco's use of border control and migration, and unaccompanied minors in particular, as political pressure against Spain."

It also deplored "the participation of children, unaccompanied minors and families (in the crossings), putting their lives and safety in clear danger."

READ MORE: Polisario vows to fight Morocco over Western Sahara despite US recognition

Morocco rejects resolution

In its response on Friday, the Moroccan Parliament said it "denounces the content of this resolution, which contains many untruths."

It also reiterated its position that Ceuta is an "occupied Moroccan city."

Morocco's Foreign Affairs Ministry said the European resolution would "not change the political nature of the bilateral crisis between Morocco and Spain" and said the issues underlying the standoff with Spain had not yet been resolved.

Morocco has voiced willingness to work with Europe "to accept the return of unaccompanied and duly identified minors."

Spain has said it hosted Polisario Front leader Brahim Ghali on humanitarian grounds, after he contracted Covid-19.

Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita said the situation was a "test of the strategic partnership" between the countries.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies