Spain, Morocco Hold First Summit in Eight Years

Spain, Morocco Hold First Summit in Eight Years (News Central TV)

In an effort to deepen commercial ties and build on a diplomatic ceasefire agreed last year following conflicts over migration and territory, Spain and Morocco will hold their first summit in eight years on Thursday.

The signing of up to 20 agreements to increase trade and investment, including credit lines of up to 800 million euros ($873 million), and to bring the two countries closer together in areas other than migration will take place in Rabat when Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and 12 members of his cabinet meet with their Moroccan counterparts.

Pedro Sanchez

In 2022, the value of bilateral commerce increased to 17 billion euros, making Spain Morocco’s largest trading partner.

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Madrid is attempting to mend a tense relationship with Rabat that has frequently resulted in diplomatic problems, most recently the invasion of Spain’s north African outpost of Ceuta by 8,000 migrants in 2021 after Morocco eased border controls.

The protest was perceived as a reaction to Madrid’s decision to permit Brahim Ghali, the rebel group’s leader who wants to found an independent state in Western Sahara, to enter Spain for medical treatment without alerting Rabat.

In March 2022, Sanchez improved ties with Rabat after overturning Spain’s four-decade Western Sahara policy by supporting Morocco’s call for the creation of an independent entity.

Algeria, a Polisario Front ally, expressed its displeasure at the about-face by suspending a 20-year friendship agreement with Spain and threatening to shut off natural gas supplies even as it forges stronger gas connections with Italy.

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The issues highlight Spain’s reliance on Morocco to regulate migration by Moroccans and sub-Saharan Africans trying to enter the southernmost frontier of the European Union.

When its law enforcement stopped a major attempt to cross into Melilla, Spain’s second North African enclave, last June, it delivered a brutal demonstration of its crucial role in the migratory issue. At least 23 people were killed and scores more were injured.


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