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Morocco Spain: Royal Diplomacy Triumphs Over Differences

Morocco Spain: Royal Diplomacy Triumphs Over Differences

Morocco Spain: Royal Diplomacy Triumphs Over Differences \ Newslooks \ Washington DC \ In a landmark moment at the Royal Palace in Rabat, King Mohammed VI of Morocco welcomed the Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, signaling a significant step forward in Moroccan-Spanish relations. The meeting, rooted in a commitment to deepen ties since their pivotal April 2022 dialogue, has been hailed as a testament to the burgeoning partnership between the two nations.

The Royal Office announced that this working visit by Mr. Sánchez underscores the “satisfactorily progressing” momentum of bilateral relations, emphasizing enhanced cooperation, mutual respect, and shared ambitions. A notable highlight of the discussions was Spain’s reaffirmation of the Moroccan autonomy initiative for the Moroccan Sahara, which King Mohammed VI appreciated for its constructive impact.

Moroccan Spanish Relations Takes another boost

The two leaders explored new avenues for cooperation, including a joint bid with Portugal for the 2030 Football World Cup, which promises to cement their diplomatic and cultural connections further. Moreover, Sánchez expressed Spain’s keen interest in Morocco’s strategic initiatives like the African Atlantic Coastal Initiative and the Nigeria-Morocco African-Atlantic Gas Pipeline, underscoring the multifaceted nature of their collaboration.

The high-level meeting, attended by officials from both sides, including José Manuel Albares, Spain’s Foreign Minister, and Nasser Bourita, Morocco’s Foreign Affairs Minister, was marked by ceremonial traditions, highlighting the deep-rooted respect and camaraderie between the two countries.

The Moroccan-Spanish relationship has been on a transformative journey, characterized by a significant reset and strengthening across various domains, reflecting a mutual commitment to a future marked by collaboration and understanding. At the heart of this evolution is a series of high-level engagements and agreements, underscoring both countries’ intent to forge a path of mutual respect and shared prosperity.

In February 2023, the spotlight was on the 12th High-Level Meeting between Spain and Morocco, a landmark event that consolidated the new stage of bilateral relations initiated in April 2022. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and Moroccan Prime Minister Aziz Akhannouch led delegations that signed approximately twenty agreements, covering areas such as migration, economic partnership, social, and cultural ties. These agreements signify a dense and crucial relationship, with Spain committing up to €800 million to foster investments in key Moroccan sectors. This meeting was seen as a strategic roadmap, setting a tone for enhanced political and security dialogue, economic cooperation, and cultural exchange.

Echoing this sentiment, King Felipe VI of Spain emphasized Morocco’s role as a pivotal partner, particularly highlighting the extensive trade exchanges and the presence of over a thousand Spanish companies in Morocco. This partnership not only addresses economic and environmental challenges but also security concerns, marking a phase of favorable bilateral relations largely fueled by recent diplomatic actions, including Spain’s recognition of Morocco’s autonomy plan for Western Sahara.

Furthermore, Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita and his Spanish counterpart, Jose Manuel Albares, have echoed these sentiments, noting the unprecedented strength, solidity, and trust in their relations. Their discussions have extended to sensitive and strategic issues like migration and security, showcasing an enhanced bilateral coordination, especially in the Euro-Mediterranean and Sahel regions.

This era of cooperation has not been without its complexities, notably Spain’s historical stance on the disputed territories and the navigation of regional politics, including the implications for relations with Algeria. However, the commitment to overcoming these challenges through dialogue and mutual respect has been a cornerstone of the renewed Moroccan-Spanish relationship.

As Morocco and Spain continue to navigate their diplomatic and economic ties, the overarching theme is one of opportunity, collaboration, and a forward-looking partnership that promises to benefit not only the two nations but the broader regional and global community. This partnership is a testament to the enduring ties between Morocco and Spain, underscoring a shared vision for a prosperous and stable future.

Observers and analysts of Moroccan-Spanish relations acknowledge a warming of ties between the two nations but highlight unresolved issues needing Madrid’s attention. Despite Spain’s support for Morocco’s autonomy initiative in the Sahara as a viable resolution to the conflict, critics argue this stance lacks the clarity and commitment needed to fully align with the mutual interests of both countries’ peoples.

Experts point out that Spain, with its historical ties and as the former colonial power in the region, possesses critical documents and evidence regarding the allegiance between the Moroccan Sahara’s inhabitants and the Moroccan monarchy. This deep-rooted connection underscores the need for Spain to adopt a more definitive position on the matter.

Furthermore, the status of Ceuta, Melilla, and several Moroccan islands under Spanish control remains a contentious issue. The Moroccan public and political spectrum are united in their call for Spain to prioritize the resolution of these territories’ status. While these files may not lead to outright disagreement given the differences in visions between the two countries, finding a solution is seen as pivotal for advancing Moroccan-Spanish relations to a new level of understanding and cooperation.

This nuanced perspective suggests that while the bilateral relationship has seen improvements, significant steps forward require Spain to engage more directly with its historical responsibilities and the current aspirations of the Moroccan people for sovereignty and territorial integrity.

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