Officially known as the Kingdom of Morocco, Morocco is a nation located in the northwestern region of Africa. Morocca is border by Spain to the north, Algeria to the east, and Western Sahara to the south. However, since Morocco has claimed control over most of Western Sahara, the southern border is often considered to be shared with Mauritania. The border between Mauritania and Morocco is a wasteland with little life. Additionally, Morocco is also bound by the Mediterranean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean.
The Morocco-Spain border is situated along the Spanish territories of Plazas de soberanía, Melilla, Alborán Island, and Ceuta, which are all located on the northern coast of Morocco. A physical border between the two is located in a region that is sandwiched by Morocco and Ceuta, called the Ceuta border fence. Another border fence, the Melilla border fence, exists at Melilla. The maritime border between Morocco and Spain exists in the Canary Island region along the Alboran Sea and the Strait of Gibraltar.
Due to an increase in the number of immigrants, the Spanish government reinforced the 7.5 mile long Melilla border in 2014, which reduced illegal crossing attempts by 67% in recent years. In fact, the Melilla border is the world’s most heavily fortified border crossing. The government of Morocco has also increased efforts to prevent illegal crossings into Europe due to a treaty that the nation signed with European Union (EU) for aid in exchange for increased efforts to clamp down illegal crossings. The same is true for the five-mile border at Ceuta, which is the only other land border crossing to Spain.
Due to the tense relationship between Morocco and Algeria, the border between these two countries was closed in 1994. A historical understanding of the relations between the two countries helps explain the closure. When Algeria gained independence from France in 1962, there was a conflict with Morocco a year later in 1963. Essentially, the King of Morocco at that time declared that the Algerian cities of Bechar and Tindouf belonged to Morocco. This declaration led to the beginning of the deadly Sand War between the two nations. Interestingly, both nations presented maps to prove the rightful ownership of the cities. The mistrust between the two nations continued even after Spain announced it wanted to leave the territory of Western Sahara in 1975. This announcement led to another conflict between the two nations, known as the Western Sahara War, which lasted from 1975 until 1991.
The closing of the border between the two nations occurred during the Algerian Civil War. Algeria accused Morocco of aiding the Armed Islamic Group of Algeria, which led to a rapid deterioration of relations and the subsequent border closure in 1994. To date, the border remains closed. However, leaders of the two nations decided to remove visa requirements for crossing. Morocco removed the restriction in 2004, while the President of Algeria did the same in 2006. However, the opening of the border is not a priority.
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