Like its Moroccan counterpart, the Spanish government is certain that the two countries will maintain their exemplary relations and cooperation despite the maritime border dispute.
The Spanish monarch underlined the excellent friendship between Morocco and Spain, noting the enormous potential for bilateral cooperation.
Referencing his latest visit to Morocco in 2019, the monarch said that the official trip was a “testimony to the traditional friendship that connects our two countries.”
Morocco’s ambassador to Spain Karima Benyaich attended the reception.
International observers have expressed concerns about the future of the relationship between Spain and Morocco. The concerns surfaced in the wake of Rabat’s decision to adopt two bills permitting it to delimit its maritime borders in the waters between Morocco’s Western Sahara and Spain’s Canary Islands.
The Spanish government shared its frustration, emphasizing that the move should not be formalized without negotiations with Spain.
Morocco’s government, however, is certain that the move is within its sovereignty rights and does not need 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,” Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita said in a joint press conference during the visit of his Spanish counterpart Arancha Gonzalez Laya in January.
“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,” he added.
The Spanish FM’s response was that Morocco should “respect international conventions” and refrain from “unilateral decisions.”
Commenting on concerns, Bourita said that the two countries will discuss new mechanisms to enhance their partnership. He said that Morocco’s move will not in any way affect the Rabat-Madrid exemplary relationship and partnership.
The Spanish King echoed the same vision, saying that the Spanish government is seeking to promote its cooperative relations with several countries in the Maghreb region.
He also wants Spain to open its market into Asia and Africa, which he described a “continent of the future.”
King Felipe and King Mohammed VI maintain a strong relationship, strengthened during the Spanish monarch’s visit to Morocco in February 2019.
The monarch travelled to Morocco with his wife Queen Letizia.