The Prime Minister of Spain, Pedro Sanchez, is set to make an official visit to Morocco on December 17.
Sanchez will co-chair with the Moroccan Head of Government, Saad Eddine El Othmani, a high-level bilateral meeting in Rabat.
El Othmani held a phone call with his Spanish counterpart on Thursday, November 12, to discuss the preparations for the meeting.
“We have the will to develop cooperation between our countries for the benefit of our people,” El Othmani wrote on Twitter after announcing the upcoming visit.
The Morocco-Spain High Level Meeting will be the 12th of its kind. The previous meeting took place in Madrid in 2015.
While officials have yet to announce the agenda of December’s meeting, it is highly likely that Moroccan and Spanish representatives will discuss the situation of maritime borders.
The issue concerns claims of an overlap between Morocco and Spain’s maritime borders in the Atlantic, between Dakhla, in southern Morocco, and the Spanish Canary Islands.
On November 7, King Mohammed VI announced that Morocco will engage in a dialogue with Spain to reach a solution.
“Morocco will remain committed to dialogue with its neighbor, Spain, regarding any overlap between the territorial waters of the two friendly countries, consistent with the provisions of the Law of the Sea and in keeping with the spirit of their partnership, avoiding any unilateral decision or fait accompli,” the King said in his Green March anniversary speech.
Irregular migration could also appear on the upcoming meeting’s agenda, especially in light of the increased flow of irregular migrants arriving in the Canary Islands.
According to the Canarian government, approximately 12,700 irregular migrants have arrived in the Canaries on board 449 boats since the start of the year. A large number of the migrants depart from Morocco’s southwestern coasts, as they directly face the Spanish archipelago.
Spain’s Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, is set to visit Morocco on November 20 to discuss the challenge with his Moroccan counterpart.
In addition to maritime borders and migration issues, Moroccan and Spanish leaders will surely discuss ways to further improve their economic ties.
In 2019, Spain was Morocco’s largest trade partner. Morocco’s trade with its northern neighbor totaled more than $15 billion in value, including $7.94 billion of imports and $7.07 billion of exports.