The adoption of the two bills comes after the house of representatives approved the bills on January 22.
The House of Councillors of the Moroccan parliament unanimously adopted two bills on Tuesday at a plenary session, establishing the country’s legal jurisdiction over its maritime borders.
The unanimous vote followed its approval in the House of Representatives on January 22.
The first of the two bills, number 37.17 is an amendment to Law 1.73.211 of March 2, 1973 fixing the limit of territorial waters.
The second bill, 38.17, amends Law 1.81, establishing an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of 200 nautical miles off the Moroccan coast, in line with international law.
Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita commented on the new adoption on Tuesday, stressing that the two amendments seek to fill the “legislative vacuum in the areas of maritime and adapt it to the full sovereignty of Morocco over its entire territory and territorial waters.”
Bourita was clear that the amendment bills are of key importance to Morocco’s territorial integrity, and are a priority for the government.
The question of overlap with Spain’s maritime territory off the coast of the Canary Islands, he said, could be resolved through dialogue.
The Spanish government shared concerns after Morocco’s parliament voted to adopt the bills in late January.
Spanish Foreign Affairs Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya travelled to Rabat, days after Morocco announced the decision to redefine its maritime borders, to meet with Bourita and the Moroccan PM.
Gonzalez Laya affirmed that Morocco cannot delimit its borders without negotiations with Spain.
While Morocco has the right to define its maritime borders, the Spanish FM emphasized that the north African country must “respect international conventions” and refrain from “unilateral” decisions.
In a meeting with the President of the Canary Islands, Angel Victor Torres, the Spanish FM said that Spain and Morocco will negotiate to reach a consensus on the delimitation of the North African country’s maritime borders.
Spain, she added, will remain vigilant so that “the letter and spirit of international regulations” are respected.
Morocco’s government, meanwhile, maintained that it is within Rabat’s sovereign rights to delimit the waters off the Moroccan coast waters without third party interference.
Bourita responded to Spain’s frustration with offers of dialogue, but was firm in the resolve that Morocco is acting within its sovereign rights, according to international law, pointing to Spain’s decision to delimit its own maritime borders off the coast of the Canary Islands, a move the European country made with no reference to Morocco’s interests or sovereign rights.
“Spain had the right, as a sovereign country, to review its maritime borders. Like Spain, Morocco, too, has the right to revise its maritime borders. Just like Spain did not ask Morocco while making its move, Morocco is a sovereign country and does not need to get Spain’s approval before making its decision,” he underlined