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HomeAfricaSahara: Spain Cedes Airspace to Morocco - The Maghreb Times !

Sahara: Spain Cedes Airspace to Morocco – The Maghreb Times !


Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has reportedly agreed to transfer to Morocco the management of the Sahara airspace, currently controlled by the Canary Islands, in return for the opening of the customs offices of Sebta and Melilla.

During his visit to Rabat on Wednesday, Pedro Sanchez conceded to Morocco the management of the Sahara airspace, diplomatic sources indicate to El Confidencial Digital, specifying that this is the condition imposed by Mohammed VI to reopen the customs office of Melilla, closed since August 2018 and launch the Ceuta customs office, as agreed in the new roadmap adopted in Rabat on April 7, 2022.

Spain is ready for the opening of these customs offices, but Morocco is dragging on resolving certain technical aspects, underlines the same source, indicating that the Moroccan ambassador in Madrid, Karima Benyaich, recently expressed the commitment of his country to open these customs offices soon. Pedro Sanchez confirmed that the obstacles on Morocco’s side to the opening of these positions are not of a political or legal nature, but technical.

Last June, Moncloa informed Morocco that Spain was going to suspend the transfer to Morocco of the management of the Sahara airspace. The Spanish Executive had acknowledged having initiated talks with Rabat on this subject to achieve greater security in connections and technical cooperation. The decision to suspend the transfer was taken due to the end of the legislature and the start of the electoral process in the country.

The airspace of the Sahara has been managed for decades from the Canary Islands, as established by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) which controls air traffic in this area. Management is carried out by ENAIRE, a Spanish public company attached to the Ministry of Transport. As an administering power, Spain has the right to manage the airspace of the Sahara, but cannot cede it to Morocco, it is specified.