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Morocco and Spain show the strength of their ties within the UN framework

The Moroccan Foreign Minister and his Spanish counterpart held a meeting on the sidelines of the 77th General Assembly of the United Nations and showed the great harmony between the two
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PHOTO/TWITTER/JOSÉ MANUEL ALBARES/MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS  -   Nasser Bourita and José Manuel Albares

New York is the setting for the 77th General Assembly of the United Nations (UN), in which the heads of state and government of the world's nations are taking part, and this setting has served for Morocco and Spain to continue to demonstrate the good relations that currently exist between the two countries. 

Nasser Bourita, Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccans Resident Abroad, and José Manuel Albares, Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, held a meeting on Wednesday on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in which they demonstrated that diplomatic relations between the North African and European countries are at a great moment.  

Speaking from New York, Nasser Bourita described as "exemplary and unique" the relations of collaboration between Morocco and Spain in various areas such as migration management, for example. In a statement to the media after talking to José Manuel Albares, he pointed out that the good dynamic of the relationship in this area will have positive repercussions at the bilateral and regional level, according to various media outlets such as the Moroccan Rue20.  

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PHOTO/TWITTER/MAROC DIPLOMATIE – Nasser Bourita and José Manuel Albares

Given the good momentum of the ties between the two nations, Nasser Bourita announced that they will continue to deepen in this line and announced that they will go further in the cooperation between the two nations with an upcoming meeting scheduled for the month of December focused on migration management and the fight against criminal networks involved in human trafficking. 

In this area of migration management and border control, Nasser Bourita also highlighted the good functioning of Operation Crossing the Strait thanks to the good coordination shown by Morocco and Spain and the re-establishment of maritime connections between the two countries.  

For his part, José Manuel Albares stressed that both parties continue to strengthen the Spanish-Moroccan friendship. "We continue to move forward in the new stage. We continue to strengthen the friendship between the Spanish and Moroccan peoples," Albares said on the social network Twitter. He also welcomed the "intense" strategic partnership that unites Spain and Morocco and that opens "a new stage" based on "transparency, permanent communication and mutual respect". 

The Spanish Foreign Minister described his meeting with Nasser Bourita as 'excellent' in order to take stock of the implementation of the road map agreed between the two countries and established by King Mohammed VI and the Spanish President, Pedro Sánchez, in Rabat when the Alawi monarch received the Spanish leader during Ramadan as a gesture of friendship following the full restoration of diplomatic relations between the two countries after a turbulent period of confrontation.  

Problems came to a head when the Spanish government decided to welcome Brahim Ghali, leader of the Polisario Front, to be treated for a serious respiratory ailment in a hospital in Logroño in April 2021. Morocco criticised this episode and the fact that he was not duly informed by a country considered a partner and ally.  

From then on, there were episodes that increased tension between the two nations, such as the massive entry of thousands of illegal immigrants through the Ceuta border and the withdrawal of the Moroccan ambassador from Madrid.  

Faced with such a negative scenario, Spain made gestures of rapprochement, such as those made by King Felipe VI and the decision to appoint José Manuel Albares as Foreign Minister to replace Arancha González Laya, who was marked by the Ghali affair.  

But the key moment came when the Spanish government of Pedro Sánchez decided to support Morocco's formula of establishing a broad autonomy for Western Sahara under Moroccan sovereignty as the most 'serious, realistic and credible' option for resolving the Sahrawi conflict that has lasted almost five decades, all under the postulates of the UN.  

From then on, the diplomatic situation improved and Morocco decided to regain full ties. This was demonstrated by King Mohammed VI's invitation to President Pedro Sánchez to meet in Rabat in April 2022. A meeting in which the road map that has been marking the steps to be taken in various areas within the relationship between the two countries was drawn up. 

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PHOTO/FILE – Pedro Sánchez and Mohammed VI

In recent years, Morocco has received the support of important nations for its initiative to resolve the situation in Western Sahara, especially since December 2020, when Donald Trump's US administration recognised the Moroccan status of Western Sahara in exchange for the Kingdom establishing diplomatic relations with Israel, following in the wake of the famous Abraham Accords signed in September 2020, under which several Arab countries established ties with the Israeli state with a view to pacifying the Middle East and developing the region socially and economically.  

This is in contrast to the position of the Polisario Front, which advocates the holding of a referendum on Sahrawi independence that enjoys less support at the international level, including that of Algeria, Morocco's great rival in the Maghreb.