Rabat – Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said today that Spain is looking forward to continuing bilateral cooperation with Morocco.
Sanchez made his remarks during a visit to the UAE.
In a statement to Sky News Arabia, the Spanish PM said that Spain is an “important ally” of Morocco.
Describing Morocco-Spain relations as in remarkably positive terms, Sanchez reiterated his country’s determination to maintain the “important” relationship with Rabat.
Spain-Morocco relations experienced an unprecedented diplomatic crisis last year, with an intense bilateral tensions emerging after Spain’s decision to host Brahim Ghali, the leader of the separatist Polisario Front in April 2021.
The Polisario leader traveled to Spain after he faced COVID-1 complications. The Spanish sheltering of the Polisario Front leader angered Morocco, whose government described the Spanish behavior as a betrayal of diplomatic reciprocity and an intolerable breach of trust from a neighbor and ally.
Morocco recalled its Madrid ambassador, Karima Benyaich, for consultations in May. The Moroccan ambassador has not yet returned to Madrid despite multiple messages of “reconciliation” from Spain in recent weeks.
The Spanish government has been attempting to restore normalcy to relations with Morocco, with Spain’s King Felipe VI calling last month for intensive work and efforts to strengthen ties with Rabat.
The Spanish monarch notably called on Morocco to “walk together” with Spain to “begin to materialize the new relationship” on the basis of “stronger and more solid pillars.”
The spokesperson of the Spanish government, Isabel Rodriguez, echoed King Felipe VI’s commitment, saying Morocco is a “strategic partner” for Spain. She added that Madrid and Rabat are “bound” to have good relations, stressing that her government “fully shares the words of King Felipe VI.”
Morocco has also appeared to welcome Madrid’s attempts to mend the damaged relationship between the two neighbors.
In August 2021, King Mohammed VI said in a speech that he also hoped to see bilateral relations between the two countries improve.
But despite reports of reassuring comments on both sides, observers maintain that unsettled divergences will make it hard for Madrid and Rabat to fully restore their relations to pre-Ghali gate normalcy.