Spain PM holds talks with Moroccan king in bid to renew frayed relations

Madrid, Mar 31 (EFE).- Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez on Thursday spoke with Moroccan king Mohamed VI in a bid to launch a new chapter in bilateral relations and establish a roadmap to avoid future crises between the neighboring countries.

A Spanish government statement added that the Moroccan monarch had invited Sánchez to visit Rabat in the coming days.

The new stage in relations would be based on “transparency, mutual respect, compliance with agreements signed by both parties as well as the refraining from any unilateral action (…) to avoid future crises between our two countries,” the statement said.

“Morocco is a neighbor and friend of Spain. Both share a common history, human ties, agreements and links that have been forging shared interests over time,” it added.

Tensions between Spain and Morocco flared in May last year when the Spanish government provided medical treatment to Brahim Ghali, the leader of the Polisario Front, a Sahrawi independence movement fighting against Morocco for sovereignty of Western Sahara.

Shortly afterwards, a migrant crisis unfolded as several thousand people flooded across the Moroccan border into Spain’s North African territories of Ceuta and Melilla.

At the time, Spain subtly pointed the finger at Morocco as responsible for the incidents.

But the foreign minister of Ghali’s admission to Spain was later dropped in a cabinet reshuffle.

Sánchez this year has sought a rapprochement with Rabat and went as far as to back Morocco’s autonomy proposal in Western Sahara, according to excerpts from a letter published by Moroccan media.

While the decision was welcomed by Morocco, it was met with opposition from the junior partners in the Socialist Party-led coalition government and angered Algeria, which supports the Western Saharan independence movement and is a major energy provider to Spain.EFE


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