Rabat – Morocco’s security forces have aborted approximately 65,000 irregular migration attempts annually since 2016.The number has more than doubled from an average of 32,000 annually between 2003 and 2015 to nearly 65,000 since 2016.The new statistics were shared by Khalid Zerouali, governor and director of immigration and border surveillance, in an interview with Jeune Afrique. Zerouali’s interview comes at a sensitive time as irregular migration has put pressure on the government to find a concrete solution to fight trafficking networks.Zerouali also spoke about Moroccan-Spanish security cooperation, saying that the regular meetings of their migration group have enabled the two countries to harmonize their analysis matrices and coordinate their actions to fight irregular migration and promote legal channels of migration.Read Also: EU Commission Wants More Security Cooperation with Morocco Against Undocumented ImmigrationMorocco and Spain created the migration group in 2003.Zerouali also recalled recent meetings with Morocco’s Minister of Interior Abdelouafi Laftit and European Commissioner for Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos.  He said that the meetings ushered in a new era of renewed cooperation between Morocco and the EU in border control and fighting migration networks.He also said that the “contours of this cooperation” are “being finalized by the experts of both parties.”Zerouali recalled a statement from Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita, who expressed Morocco’s refusal to host migrant centers for Europe.Zerouali said, “This refusal is also consistent with our acceptance of the notion of shared responsibility.”In recent months, Morocco has made its position clear on migration centers. Several officials explained that migrant centers would only be a temporary solution that would fail to solve the overall issue.Read Also: Morocco Asks Spain for €60 Million to Fight Undocumented MigrationOn October 4, Morocco’s Government Spokesperson Mustapha El Khalfi said that creating reception centers for migrants is only Europe’s attempt to externalize its migration challenges.“We need a long-term solution and not an immediate economic solution.”El Khalfi asserted that reception centers would run counter to human rights, and Morocco could not agree to be involved.

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