Spain is sending troops and more police to one of its North African enclaves after a record number of mostly Moroccan migrants entered the territory. Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska said Tuesday that police numbers in Ceuta, a tiny peninsula across the Strait of Gibraltar and bordered by Morocco, will be raised by around 20%, or 200 officers. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said soldiers
The influx is likely to further inflame normally close relations between the two countries that took a downturn earlier this month, when Moroccan officials criticized Madrid for hosting the leader of a movement fighting for independence in Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony that’s claimed by Rabat.
Sanchez described the arrival of thousands of migrants as “a crisis for Spain and for Europe,” and said he’d respond with “firmness.” “Morocco is a partner, a friend of Spain, and it must continue to be,” he told reporters before leaving for Ceuta. Effective cooperation “must be based on respect,” he said. Madrid later summoned Morocco’s ambassador, Karima Benyaich.