Spain and Morocco coordinate preparations for Operation Crossing the Strait 2023

News - 2023.5.17

The meeting served to pin down the details of the Special Civil Protection Plan for OPE-23, which will be finalised in the coming weeks, and which will include all the necessary aspects for the development of the operation.

On the Spanish side, present at the meeting were the Undersecretary of the Ministry for Home Affairs, Isabel Goicoechea; the Director General of Civil Protection and Emergencies, Leonardo Marcos; the Director General of Coordination and Studies of the Secretary of State for Security, José Antonio Rodríguez; and the Director General of Traffic, Pere Navarro.

Also in attendance were officials from the Directorate General for the Maghreb, Mediterranean and Middle East of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation; from the Directorate General for the Merchant Navy and State Ports; from the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and the Urban Agenda; and representatives from other ministerial departments.

Morocco's ambassador to Spain, Karima Benyaich, Morocco's Director of Migration and Border Surveillance, Khalid Zerouali, and senior officials from the General Directorate of National Security and the Royal Gendarmerie, in addition to representatives from different ministries of the North African country, also attended.

Operational devices

Among other issues, the joint commission addressed the operational arrangements that are going to be put in place by the two countries to guarantee the development of Operation Crossing the Strait 2023, which will be similar to those established for OPE-22. In 2022, the Ministry for Home Affairs set up a security force of 15,995 National Police and Guardia Civil officers.

The measures being evaluated by Spanish and Moroccan civil protection officials will ensure that various objectives are achieved, including the fluidity and security of transit, passenger assistance and public health prevention and protection.

The fleet plans to be implemented to guarantee an adequate offer for the daily traffic of passengers and vehicles were also shared at the meeting. The reinforcements of troops to be mobilised in the ports to guarantee transit, both from Europe to Africa and vice versa in the second phase of OPE-23, were also addressed.

Last, both countries agreed to reinforce and coordinate information exchange channels to continue working on aspects such as the management of peak travel days, the possibility of exchanging tickets and other conditions for maritime crossings.

Non official translation