While relations between Mexico and Morocco have historically been marked by Mexico’s position on Western Sahara, recent exchange of visits could be the sign of a shift.
Rabat – Legislative institutions in Morocco and Mexico will work together on developing cooperation, pledged the President of Morocco’s House of Councillors, Hakim Benchamach, and the President of the Mexican Chamber of Deputies, Laura Angélica Rojas Hernández.
The two politicians made the joint statement on Tuesday, February 25, after meeting in Mexico City.
Benchamach led a Moroccan parliamentary delegation to the country for the Forum of Presidents of the Legislative Powers of Central America and the Caribbean (FOPREL).
FOPREL is an organization bringing together the heads of legislative institutions from ten countries: Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Panama, El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Puerto Rico, and Nicaragua. The organization invites guest countries to its meetings regularly.
During the meeting, the Moroccan official emphasized the strategic location of both Morocco and Mexico and their regional leadership in several fields, notably the protection of democracy and human rights, management of migration issues, environmental protection, and the fight against climate change.
The similarities between Morocco and Mexico allow the two countries to promote partnership between Africa and Latin America, added Benchamach.
The Moroccan deputy invited Mexican MPs to visit Morocco’s southern provinces. The visit would help Mexico better understand the reality of the Western Sahara issue and the importance of Morocco’s Autonomy Plan, explained Benchamach.
The Moroccan autonomy initiative is the only realistic political solution to the artificial Western Sahara conflict, he stressed.
Meanwhile, the Mexican official said that the Moroccan delegation’s visit reflects their firm will to promote bilateral relations.
Parliamentary diplomacy plays a major role in strengthening cooperation between the two countries, added Rojas Hernández.
Morocco has made remarkable progress in boosting the representation of women and youth in its legislative and political institutions, she added.
The meeting between Moroccan and Mexican MPs is the latest in a series of exchanges in the hopes of boosting cooperation between the two countries.
On January 13, a Mexican delegation flew to Rabat to take part in a meeting of the Moroccan-Mexican parliamentary friendship group.
During the meeting, representatives from the two countries expressed hope of beginning a new era of cooperation, especially in the fields of economy, trade, and culture.
Mexico and Western Sahara
Despite the exchange of visits, Mexico’s position on the Western Sahara issue could hinder any positive development in bilateral relations.
In 1979, Mexico declared its recognition of the self-proclaimed Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) as a state and established diplomatic ties with the Polisario Front.
Mexico’s positions at the UN Security Council also opposed Moroccan proposals.
In 2003, the North American country voted in favor of UN Resolutions 1463 and 1495 to extend the mandate of the UN referendum mission. Morocco opposed the move since it believes a referendum is impossible as long as the Polisario Front and Algeria continue to block a census.
In 2018, the self-proclaimed president of the SADR and General Secretary of the Polisario Front, Brahim Ghali, attended the inauguration of the Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Morocco, however, did not participate in the ceremony.
While the recent meetings between Moroccan and Mexican officials give place to some optimism, it remains to be seen whether Mexico will opt for a diplomatic shift in favor of Morocco.