First contact between Spain and Morocco after the diplomatic crisis

The foreign ministers held a phone call in which they agreed to meet in person
albares-pakistan-afganistan

 -   José Manuel Albares, ministro español de Asuntos Exteriores, Unión Europea y Cooperación, en Islamabad (Pakistán)

After the tension experienced in Ceuta due to the uncontrolled arrival of migrants, and the subsequent diplomatic crisis it caused, it seems that Moroccans and Spaniards are once again willing to sit down at the same table. It is true that the decision of the recently indicted former minister González Laya to welcome the leader of the Polisario Front, Brahim Ghali, did nothing to improve relations between two countries that are condemned to understand each other. Now, foreign ministers from both countries are in contact again and have agreed to meet in person in the near future to "consolidate" the ties that have always united them.

The absence of the Moroccan Foreign Minister, Nasser Bourita, at the United Nations General Assembly forced a telephone call with his Spanish counterpart, José Manuel Albares, in which both agreed to deal with diplomatic matters in person in what will be the first meeting after the migration crisis in Ceuta. The words of King Mohammed VI last August are beginning to become evident. The future meeting between the Moroccan and Spanish ministers is an important step in the 'new spirit' that exists around bilateral relations between the neighbouring countries.

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Nasser Bourita

It is precisely the mediation by the monarchy that has been fundamental in bringing positions closer at such a complicated time as the diplomatic relations between the two countries were going through. Furthermore, Minister Albares had already announced that communication with North African countries was one of his main concerns: "One of my main priorities will be relations with Morocco and Algeria, friends and partners", he said less than a month ago, something that is now reflected in these talks. According to diplomatic sources, José Luis Albares intends to maintain relations of "mutual respect" and "take another step towards normalisation".

The decision to indict González Laya was one of the most important blows to Spanish Moroccan ties. Meanwhile, Rabat is demanding that Madrid take a firm stance on the Western Sahara issue, as the United States did under President Donald Trump in 2020. However, the Spanish government has yet to take a clear position on this issue, another of the reasons that led to the Moroccan ambassador to Spain, Karima Benyaich, being recalled for consultations.

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AP/JAVIER FERGO - Moroccan migrants at the border with Ceuta

The representative of the Alawi kingdom in Spain has not yet returned since leaving Madrid in May. Her return is expected to become a reality soon, a fact that has been rumoured since the end of August. It was in May that relations between the two countries reached a point of maximum tension, when around 10,000 people crossed the border between Morocco and Spain irregularly. The decision, largely triggered by Ghali's reception, dented ties between the two countries, leading to their worst diplomatic crisis in decades.

The forthcoming return to a dialogue table between foreign ministers is great news in terms of strengthening ties that are vital for both sides. After the breakdown of diplomatic relations with Algeria, the possibility of losing another regional ally - and more so one as important as Spain - would be a serious blow for the country, which is still awaiting the formation of a new government to be led by Aziz Ajanuch. Necessity and willingness come together so that Morocco, which, as Mohammed VI has stated, is entering a new phase, and Spain can once again cooperate and form an important alliance.