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Spain-Morocco: Albares and Bourita meet for the third time in a week

The Foreign Ministers promise to make progress on the joint roadmap and set the RAN for the end of January 2023
PHOTO/TWITTER  -  Nasser Bourita, ministro de Asuntos Exteriores de Marruecos, y José Manuel Albares, ministro de Asuntos Exteriores de España

PHOTO/TWITTER  -    -   Nasser Bourita, Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs, and José Manuel Albares, Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs

The Spanish and Moroccan Foreign Ministers cannot complain about not having the opportunity to discuss the details of cooperation between the two countries. José Manuel Albares and Nasser Bourita met three times in the space of a week. 

First at the forum of civilisations organised by the United Nations in Fez, then in Barcelona on the occasion of the meeting of the Union for the Mediterranean, and finally in Madrid. 

According to the Moroccan minister, this is the first time he has visited Spain in more than three years. According to Moroccan sources, Bourita's visit to Madrid was a stopover before returning to Madrid. 

The two ministers met last October during the United Nations assembly debate, during which they announced the resumption of preparations for the High Level Meeting (HLM) and the setting up of customs posts in the autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla. 

According to the declarations of both officials, the RAN will take place between the end of January and February next year, as well as the normalisation of the passage of regulated goods through the border customs posts in Ceuta and Melilla. 

atalayar-ministro-asuntos-exteriores-españa-marruecos-jose-manuel-albares-nasser-bourita-frontera
PHOTO/TWITTER/MAROC DIPLOMATIE  -  Nasser Bourita and José Manuel Albares, foreign ministers of Morocco and Spain, respectively

Several Spanish newspapers questioned Morocco's real intentions to make progress on the joint roadmap signed by the two governments in April 2022. Questions arose over Morocco's will when its delegation to the United Nations registered a document denying the existence of land borders with Spain. The document continues the Moroccan dialectic of sovereignty over Spanish cities in North Africa. 

Minister Albares has nevertheless repeated on numerous occasions the Moroccan government's willingness to comply with the points that make up the joint road map. In the most immediate aspect, that of customs in Ceuta and Melilla, local actors in both cities are eagerly awaiting the establishment of regulated border crossings to alleviate the suffocating situation suffered by the economy of the Spanish enclaves. 

The RAN will also be an opportunity for both governments to set down in writing new conditions for the administration of disputed areas, such as the waters surrounding the Chafarinas islands, the rocky outcrops of Alhucemas and Vélez de la Gomera, and the islands of Alborán and Perejil.