The meeting comes at a volatile time, as conservative Spanish media and politicians have taken to regularly condemn Morocco.
Rabat – Nasser Bourita, Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccans Abroad, held a videoconference with his Spanish counterpart on strengthening cooperation in a variety of sectors.
The talks with Arancha Gonzalez Laya, Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation were held digitally on Tuesday, February 23.
The two ministers reiterated the “excellent relations” between the two countries and highlighted the resilience of their bilateral relations.
The contents of the postponed high-level meeting were also discussed. It was initially set to take place in Rabat on December 17, 2020, but had to be called off due to COVID-19. Bourita and Laya agreed to strengthen cooperation in the economic, cultural and educational areas once the pandemic subsides.
Bourita and Laya called for stronger cooperation as strategic partners in a post-COVID-19 world, given the complementary nature of the two economies.
They also discussed regional issues of common interest, such as Western Sahara and the Euro-Mediterranean area.
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The talks come at a volatile time, as the Western Sahara issue has divided Spanish politicians, media, and citizens. While some Spanish officials have challenged Morocco’s territorial integrity and urged their government to intervene in the dispute, the Spanish government stressed that it has “no international responsibility” to intervene in the region.
A similar divide can be seen between the governments of Ceuta and Melilla, and the government of mainland Spain.
Vox senator for Ceuta Yolanda Merelo slammed the Spanish government over the lack of action in Ceuta’s economic crisis, following Morocco’s measures to limit informal goods trafficking. She called it the “siege and strangulation of Ceuta” at the hands of Morocco.
Despite Spanish media’s and the right-wing Vox party’s antagonistic opposition to Morocco, the leading government has had to come forward, on several occasions, to reiterate Morocco’s positions as a strategic partner.
Speaking at the Nueva Economia Forum (New Economy Forum) in January, Laya even described the relations between the two countries as “close, deep and solid.”