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Moroccans are keeping a close eye on the worsening security situation in Libya.
The Moroccan government rushed to reassure citizens about the welfare of the large expatriate community now living amidst the ongoing unrest and violence.
Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane on Sunday (August 10th) said that Morocco was taking action to help its 70,000 citizens in Libya.
King Mohammed VI gave instructions to support Moroccan nationals residing in Libya, he added.
A crisis management group was also launched August 1st at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Co-operation (MAEC) to monitor the situation of Moroccans in Libya.
The group, which comprises various ministerial departments, is responsible for co-ordinating with Morocco’s diplomatic and consular services in Libya to set up voluntary repatriation arrangements, along with emergency intervention and assistance measures for Moroccan citizens.
Expats in Libya have been provided with free telephone numbers to call.
The first contingents of Moroccans arriving in Tunisia have already been able to take aantage of the measures introduced last week.
Royal Air Maroc ramped up flights to Tunis to repatriate Moroccans in Libya, an August 11th statement said.
“Royal Air Maroc, as a national carrier, is naturally concerned about the safety of its fellow nationals, and will work to help them in the best possible way,” the statement noted.
Families with loved ones living in Libya are still worried.
Sara Zouhairi cannot wait to see her husband return home from Tripoli, where he has been working for five years.
“Mohamed is eager to return to Morocco due to the security situation. He’s been reluctant for some time because Libya is where he earns his money. But he’s finally resigned himself to returning home because it’s a question of life or death,” she told Magharebia.
“Given the control the militias now have over the ports and airports, it’s hard to leave the country,” she said in tears.
She explained that her husband and a great many other Moroccan nationals in Tripoli were hoping that neighbouring countries would intervene to restore security to Libya.
Politicians are also concerned about the situation in Libya.
The kingdom “has always pleaded for Libya’s unity, sovereignty and territorial security to be honoured, and has called for the violence to stop”, Moroccan Foreign Affairs Minister Delegate Mbarka Bouaida said last week in Washington.
During a meeting about the security situation in Libya between Maghreb foreign ministers and Anne Patterson, the American assistant secretary of state for near eastern affairs, Bouaida indicated that Morocco was following developments in Libya and its political and security crisis.
Neighbouring Maghreb, Arab, African and Mediterranean countries and the international community need to be involved in the meetings and discussions about the Libyan situation, as they are directly affected by the current situation in Libya and its repercussions, the government official added.
Bouaida also reiterated Morocco’s commitment to helping restore security in Libya.
The Moroccan diplomat emphasised the importance of adopting “global, integrated and multidimensional” strategies that support security, economy, social, political and cultural facets.
Source : Magharebia