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Pedro Sánchez recognises the Moroccan plan for the Sahara as the "most serious, realistic and credible basis"

The Moroccan Foreign Ministry announces the visit of Minister Albares to Rabat before the start of Ramadan, as well as that of Sánchez in the near future
PHOTO/PALACIO REAL DE MARRUECOS - Fotografía de archivo, Pedro Sánchez, es recibido por el Rey de Marruecos Mohammed VI antes de su almuerzo en el Palacio Real de Rabat, Marruecos, el lunes 19 de noviembre de 2018

PHOTO/ROYAL PALACE OF MOROCCO  -   File photo, Pedro Sanchez, is received by Morocco's King Mohammed VI before their lunch at the Royal Palace in Rabat, Morocco, Monday, Nov. 19, 2018.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has taken a fundamental step on the Western Sahara issue. In a letter addressed to King Mohammed VI, the Spanish leader has considered the Moroccan autonomy initiative "as the most serious, realistic and credible basis for the resolution" of the conflict in the region.

In the letter, Sánchez also recognises "the importance of the Sahara issue for Morocco", an aspect that Rabat has stressed on several occasions. The Spanish leader also praised "Morocco's serious and credible efforts within the framework of the United Nations to find a mutually acceptable solution".

Sánchez also alluded to the bilateral relations between the two countries, stressing that the two nations "are inextricably linked by affection, history, geography, interests and a shared friendship". Because of this connection on so many levels, the president recalled that "Morocco's prosperity is linked to that of Spain, and vice versa".

pedro sanchez-mohammed vi

This strong union also drives the partnership between Rabat and Madrid, which is why the Spanish leader underlined his "determination to face common challenges together, especially cooperation in the management of migratory flows in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, in a spirit of total cooperation". "All these actions will be carried out with the aim of guaranteeing the stability and territorial integrity of the two countries," Sánchez added. 

"Our objective is to build a new relationship, based on transparency and permanent communication, mutual respect, and respect for the agreements signed by both parties, refraining from any unilateral action in order to live up to the importance of everything we share", Sánchez admits, thus expressing Madrid's desire to repair diplomatic relations, which have deteriorated since last April

In this sense, and with the aim of continuing this rapprochement, Spain "will act with absolute transparency" with Morocco, which it considers "a great friend and ally". "I assure you that Spain will always honour its commitments and keep its word", Sánchez adds in his message. 

In this way, Spain takes a position on the Sahara issue, something that Morocco has been requesting for some time. It also joins other countries such as the United States and Germany in supporting Moroccan autonomy for the region. This decision will change the course of Spanish-Moroccan relations, which are heavily conditioned by politics and, specifically, by this issue.

The entry into Spain of Brahim Ghali, leader of the Polisario Front, distanced the two kingdoms, although Madrid has taken certain steps to recover this link. The King, Felipe VI, has been a key figure in this regard, sending messages of cordiality to his counterpart. Also, the replacement of the foreign minister, Arancha González Laya, by José Manuel Albares, was a gesture that began to lay the foundations for this longed-for rapprochement.

Morocco welcomes Spain's decision

In a Moroccan Foreign Ministry statement, Rabat 'highly appreciates Spain's positive positions and productive commitments on the Moroccan Sahara issue'. Nasser Bourita's ministry also points to a 'bilateral partnership within the framework of the new bases and parameters, underlined in the Royal Speech of 20 August'.

In that speech, the monarch Mohammed VI called for "the inauguration of a new stage in relations between our two countries, based on trust, transparency, mutual consideration and respect for commitments"

Morocco also alluded to a visit to Rabat scheduled for the end of March by Minister Albares. The communiqué also reveals that 'a visit by the President of the Spanish government to the Kingdom of Morocco will also be scheduled at a later date'