Spain and Morocco agree to improve relations between the two countries

Sánchez with King Mohamed on a previous occasion. / EFE / VIDEO: EUROPA PRESS

Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares has postponed his own trip to Rabat after the Prime Minister agreed to visit Mohamed VI soon to open “a new stage” in their relationship

Two weeks after Spain’s sudden reversal on Western Sahara, the government is keen to put an end to the diplomatic crisis with Morocco as quickly as possible. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez spoke by telephone with King Mohamed VI on Thursday to consolidate a “new stage” in relations between the two countries. The reconciliation will be marked “in the near future” by Sánchez and José Manuel Albares, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, visiting Rabat and as a result Albares has canceled the trip to the Moroccan capital that he was due to make today (Friday) .

The government wants to put an end to the “unsustainable” situation that has lasted for a year over the “Ghali affair” – the leader of the Polisario Front has been admitted to Logroño hospital for treatment for Covid and the response of the Morocco has been the massive influx of migrants via Ceuta and Melilla – which has fractured diplomatic relations. Things were so bad that King Mohamed immediately withdrew his ambassador to Spain.

Sánchez made a first move in July by replacing then-foreign minister Arancha González Laya, who would have been responsible for the operation. Since then, with Albares at the head of the ministry, a “discreet” diplomatic action has led the Moroccan ambassador to regain her post. This decision was due to Spain’s new position regarding Western Sahara by openly embracing the autonomy plan that Morocco had proposed in 2017 for its former colony.

Basis for better relationships

In their first conversation since the thaw in diplomatic relations, Sánchez said that this new stage should be based on “transparency, constant communication, mutual respect, respect for the agreements signed by both parties and refraining from any action. unilaterally to avoid future crises”. . He insists the agreement with Morocco guarantees the “territorial integrity” of the two countries, although Rabat did not specify whether this means giving up its claim to Ceuta and Melilla.

Mohamed VI responded by inviting Sánchez to visit the Moroccan capital, to “set in motion the roadmap to consolidate the new relationship”, although no date has yet been set for the visit. When the Prime Minister leaves, it will not be with the support of any political party except his own, the PSOE, on the decision on the Sahara, which the government says is not a reversal or a change of position.