Although Mexico’s position on the Western Sahara question has dampened Morocco-Mexico relations, the two countries are looking towards strengthened bilateral cooperation.
Rabat – After a meeting between representatives of Morocco and Mexico in Rabat, the two countries expressed hope of beginning a new era of cooperation.
Jamal Benchekroun Krimi, president of the Moroccan-Mexican parliamentary friendship group, welcomed his Mexican counterpart Maria Del Carmen Bautista Pelaez on Monday, January 13, to Morocco’s capital.
The Moroccan-Mexican friendship group praised the cordial relationship between the two countries and highlighted the common values shared by their respective peoples.
Heightened cooperation in the economic, commercial, and cultural fields should be on the menu for the future of Morocco-Mexico relations, according to members of the friendship group. In particular, the two countries aim to increase trade. In 2018, trade between Morocco and Mexico amounted to only $508 million.
The group went on to illuminate the evolution of diplomatic relations between Morocco and Mexico since 1962, noting how King Mohammed VI’s visit to Mexico in 2004, along with Mexican President Vicente Fox’s return visit to Morocco in 2005, demonstrated the two countries’ shared willingness to strengthen diplomatic ties.
In January 2009, Morocco and Mexico exchanged additional diplomatic visits.
In the cultural field, the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) paid tribute to the late Moroccan intellectual and sociologist Fatima Mernissi on November 11, 2019, in Mexico City. The tribute served to strengthen mutual interest in cultural and academic cooperation between Mexico and Morocco.
However, Mexico’s position on the Western Sahara question has dampened Morocco-Mexico relations.
In 1979, Morocco-Mexico relations wavered after Mexican Foreign Minister Jorge Castañeda y Álvarez de la Rosa declared Mexico’s recognition of the self-proclaimed Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) as a state. The move established diplomatic ties between Mexico and the self-styled SADR.
In 2003, Mexico voted in favor of the UN Security Council Resolutions 1463 and 1495 to extend the mandate of the UN referendum mission, a move opposed by Morocco since a referendum remains impossible while the Polisario Front, the SADR’s “representative,” and Algeria, the front’s main backer and arms provider, continue to block a census.
Meanwhile, Mexico and the SADR have exchanged frequent diplomatic visits since 2010.
Recently, in 2018, the self-proclaimed president of the SADR and General Secretary of the Polisario Front, Brahim Ghali, attended the inauguration of current Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. No Moroccan officials attended the ceremony.
Monday’s Rabat meeting, however, alludes to an optimistic shift in diplomacy.
Alfredo Fermat Banuelos, a member of the Mexican delegation, expressed his appreciation for King Mohammed VI during Monday’s meeting and reiterated Mexico’s wish to deepen ties with Morocco.
The meeting, according to Morocco’s House of Representatives, signals the possibility of future developments in Morocco-Mexico relations.