Despite Spain’s frustration regarding Morocco’s decision to delimit its maritime borders, the North African country is certain that relations with its European neighbor will not be affected.
Rabat – Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita said the diplomatic relations between Morocco and its neighboring country, Spain, are exemplary.
Bourita remarked on the Spain-Morocco ties after the House of Councillors adopted two bills allowing Morocco to redefine its maritime borders in the waters between Morocco’s Western Sahara and Spain’s Canary Islands.
“Rabat and Madrid intend to discuss new mechanisms to enhance strategic partnership,” he said.
The FM also cited Morocco’s ongoing collaboration with Spain to combat terrorism and security challenges.
“Unfortunately, these relations do not exist between [Morocco] and its other neighbors, Algeria and Mauritania,” he argued.
Morocco’s government has already lamented the lack of collaboration between Maghreb countries in the face of common challenges, including terrorism.
While relations between Morocco and Mauritania appear to be relatively stable, the same cannot be said for Rabat and Algiers.
For decades, Algeria has consistently challenged Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara.
Despite Morocco’s initiative for dialogue with its eastern neighbor, Algeria still believes that the question of Western Sahara is an issue of “decolonization.”
Algeria is one of the countries that supports the Polisario Front’s independence claims Western Sahara. It hosts, finances, and arms the Polisario Front in the Tindouf camps.
The Moroccan FM says Spain is a more strategic partner than Morocco’s regional neighbors, despite tensions between the two countries in the wake of Morocco’s move to redefine its maritime borders.
The Moroccan FM reassured his colleagues that relations between Spain and Morocco will not be “affected by the rift over the delimitation of maritime borders.”
He noted that some Moroccans seem to be more concerned with the border overlap than Spaniards, and should leave Spain’s foreign policy to Spain
The official emphasized Morocco’s sovereign right to define its maritime borders, but said that Morocco is always open to dialogue.
The governments of Spain and Morocco discussed means to strengthen diplomatic relations, describing their bonds as “excellent” during the visit of Spanish FM Arancha Gonzalez Laya in January.
She spoke about Morocco-Spain collaboration in all fields, including security and migration.
On the maritime borders issue, the Spanish FM emphasized the need for negotiations, stating that Morocco cannot delimit its borders without negotiations with Spain.
The north African country must “respect international conventions” and refrain from “unilateral” decisions, she underlined.
Although Morocco is ready to negotiate with Spain, Bourita was clear that Morocco has the right to delimit its borders without approval from Spain.
“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,” Bourita said in a previous statement in January.