The Spanish government defended its decision, claiming that the medicines in the shipment were needed in Spain to meet domestic demand.
Rabat – Spanish news outlet El Mundo said that the Spanish Agency of Medicine and Sanitary Products (AEMPS) is “holding back” exports of several medicines produced by Spanish companies due to potential supply problems caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The confiscated shipment was destined for Morocco and several other countries, including some in the Middle East and South Africa.
Spain is acting similarly to Turkey, which attempted to impound a shipment of respirators to Spain, El Mundo reported.
The decision caused an uproar among World Health Organization officials.
The shipment was supposed to include several highly-demanded medications such as insulin and hydroxychloroquine.
Morocco expressed frustration at the move, which comes as a shock given healthy bilateral cooperation between the two countries.
The Spanish government argued that the move aims to ensure sufficient supplies to meet its domestic demand. .
Spain is one of the hardest-hit countries in Europe, with more than 145,000 confirmed infections including over 14,000 deaths.
Spain and Morocco have repeatedly touted their “examplary” partnership in cooperation against terrorism and irregular migration, as well as in trade.
Relations between Spain and Morocco may experience a rift amid the recent development.
Spanish far-right political party Vox has lashed out at Morocco for its recently-approved legislation to delimit maritime borders with Spain off the Atlantic coast.
On March 31, Morocco officialized Laws 37-17 and 38-17 on the delimitation of its maritime borders.
In its territorial sea, Morocco has the right to build and protect pipelines, cables, and navigation equipment. The country also has the right to enforce its fiscal, medical, and immigration laws in the territorial sea.
Spanish officials were fully aware of the laws, which Morocco’s parliament passed in December 2019.