Home » Morocco, UK Negotiate Outsourcing Asylum Seekers, Recognition of Rabat’s W. Sahara: Reports
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Morocco, UK Negotiate Outsourcing Asylum Seekers, Recognition of Rabat’s W. Sahara: Reports

The British government is reportedly amid negotiations with Morocco and other African nations to send asylum seekers in a deportation agreement similar to the one agreed with Rwanda.

Last month, the appeal court declared the government’s plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda on a one-way ticket to claim asylum there unlawful, citing deficiencies in the East African country’s asylum system.

Announced in April 2022 under Boris Johnson’s cabinet, the scheme vows to “block people-smuggling networks” and “prevent migrants from making the treacherous sea journey” across the Channel to England from France.

Despite the firm legal and humanitarian opposition, Rishi Sunak’s conservative cabinet has not yet let go of the plan.

Instead, it has reportedly started negotiations with Morocco, Nigeria, Ghana, Namibia, and Niger, which is currently experiencing a coup.

In an interview with the Times, Rishi Sunak’s official spokesman did not deny the news. Still, he refused to get “drawn into discussing specific speculation around different countries or proposals that we may or may not be considering.”

Contacted by The New Arab, no official from Rabat’s foreign minister could comment on the reported negotiations.

Last month, a Moroccan diplomatic source told the local news TV Le7 that they are ongoing talks between London and Rabat with British recognition of Morocco’s sovereignty over the disputed territory of Western Sahara on the table.

Some commentators expect the two reported talks to be related.

“In my opinion, if this is true, this is the only way Morocco can agree on discussing the offshoring plan. We learned last year that Rabat will not enter any negotiation if recognition is not on the table,” a Rabat-based political analyst told TNA on condition of anonymity.

Since leaving the EU, London has begun to forge closer ties with new allies, including Rabat. The two states have signed a series of economic and trade agreements intended to help the UK mitigate the consequences of leaving the European bloc.

Also, the two states are working on a submarine cable project that aims to link the United Kingdom with Morocco in what would be the longest line of its kind in the world. 

However, the Rabat-based analyst argues that Morocco may be reluctant to go with such a plan amid the rising anti-migrant feelings in the country.

Morocco has an estimated number of irregular migrants between 25,000 and 40,000 – mostly sub-Saharans who came to the North African state to attempt crossing the last land borders with Europe in Ceuta and Melilla.

Since Rabat-Madrid’s reconciliation, crossing the fences to the Spain-controlled claves became a suicide mission because of both sides’ tight and brutal security.

That caused many migrants and asylum seekers to stay trapped in makeshift camps around the North African kingdom, often clashing with security forces and Grand replacement conspiracy theory believers.

Source : New Arab