Morocco-Spain: high-level meeting, land passage for goods… What Jose Manuel Albares says

The Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation Jose Manuel Albares welcomed, yesterday Wednesday, in New York, the “intense” strategic partnership linking Spain and Morocco which reflects, a-t – he says, “a new stage” based on “transparency, permanent communication and mutual respect”.

“We have an intense bilateral program covering all aspects of our bilateral relationship, based on transparency, constant communication and mutual respect. These are the principles of sincere cooperation between two strategic partners such as Spain and Morocco”, indicated the head of the Spanish diplomacy at the end of his talks with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccans residing abroad, Nasser Bourita, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

For Jose Manuel Albares, this is a “new step” in relations between Madrid and Rabat, adding that the interview with Nasser Bourita served as an opportunity to establish the bases for the “next steps”.

“We have made more than significant progress, from which the Moroccan and Spanish peoples are already benefiting,” he said, referring to the resumption of air, sea and land connections, “which has also enabled thousands of families to be reunited this summer thanks to this operation after these years of pandemics”.

He also stressed that he had agreed with his Moroccan counterpart to hold the high-level meeting as planned before the end of the year, “the objective being that this be possible during the month of November”.

For the Spanish minister, this meeting will be “a new opportunity to take stock and to continue to move forward together and to reaffirm Spanish-Moroccan friendship”.

While recalling that this high-level meeting has not taken place since 2015, he specified that, since last April, all the working groups created in accordance with the roadmap of the Joint Declaration at the end of the discussions between the King Mohammed VI and the President of the Spanish Government, Pedro Sánchez, “have held meetings and are respecting the planned work schedule”.

Regarding the “regular and orderly” movement of goods, the Spanish minister noted that Spanish exports to Morocco have increased by 30% in just one year, reaching 6,000 million euros, thus consolidating the position of Spain. Spain as the Kingdom’s leading trading partner.

“But we want to go further, that’s why we are working with the objective of achieving a land crossing for goods next January,” he said, stressing that as part of the “reactivation” of cooperation bilaterally, the two parties “agreed to work towards an orderly and gradual passage of goods through land customs posts to begin in January”.

Jose Manuel Albares also announced that the Spanish government would approve a project for a development promotion fund worth 20 million euros, the first project in 20 years in Morocco aimed, according to him, at granting microcredits to promote the inclusion of young people and women in the productive system.

He indicated that the cooperation between the two countries will also focus on technical assistance in the railway sector, the water sector and for the establishment of integrated systems.

On the migration side, the Spanish minister referred to “evidence of excellent cooperation”, indicating that the figures for irregular arrivals have been reduced by 20% in the last four months compared to the same period of last year.

“It is the result, among other things, of the joint work against criminal networks of human trafficking. We have agreed to continue to strengthen this cooperation, particularly on the Atlantic coast,” he said.

Jose Manuel Albares finally indicated that within the framework of the “reactivation” of bilateral cooperation, the two parties have “agreed to work so that the orderly and gradual passage of goods through land customs posts begins in January” 2023.

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