Morocco wants strong ties with Spain after diplomatic rift

King Mohammed wants to heal rift caused by migration issues

King Mohammed of Morocco says he wants good relations with neighbour Spain and wants to work with the country on illegal migration.
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

Morocco is keen to strengthen ties with Spain after a rift arose between the two countries this spring, Moroccan King Mohammed said on Friday, though he added the crisis had shaken mutual trust.

“We are keen today to strengthen [ties], bearing in mind the need for a common understanding of the two nations' interests,” he said in a speech.

However, he added that Morocco would not accept “that its best interests be trampled on".

In April, Morocco expressed anger after Spain admitted a Saharan rebel leader to the country for medical treatment using Algerian documents, though the Spanish government said it had not been informed.

Rabat then appeared to relax border controls with Ceuta, a Spanish enclave in northern Morocco, on May 17, leading to an influx of at least 8,000 migrants, most of whom have since been returned.

This “unprecedented crisis … shook mutual trust and raised many questions as to their future,” said the king, noting that the two countries have discussed bilateral ties since the crisis.

Morocco looks forward to “ushering in a new, unprecedented phase in the relations between the two countries, on the basis of trust, transparency, mutual respect and the fulfilment of obligations,” he said.

Spain is Morocco's biggest trading partner and the two countries have co-operated closely to stem illegal migration.

The king also said that Morocco's relations with France are “solid".

The monarch defended Morocco's security services and other national institutions against what he called a “full-fledged campaign” to tarnish their image.

Updated: August 21, 2021, 4:47 AM