Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco to Spain, Karima Benyaich, emphasized the continued effectiveness of Moroccan-Spanish relations in an interview with MoroccoLatestNews AR.
Benyaich continued, “The immoral practices that took place in the Spanish elections and affected the symbols of the Kingdom of Morocco concern minorities that do not represent the Spanish people.”
In what direction are Moroccan-Spanish relations heading now that you’ve returned after the “Ghali crisis”? How would you rate this fundamental shift in relations?
The history of Moroccan-Spanish relations dates back many centuries. There are numerous commonalities between the two countries:
First, Morocco is the only nation in Africa that directly shares a civilizational and cultural heritage—the Andalusian heritage—with Spain. The Andalusian component was specifically acknowledged as one of the tributaries of Moroccan identity in the 2011 Moroccan constitution.
The second factor is geographic proximity; Morocco is only 14 kilometers from Spain, which significantly strengthens bilateral ties and forces the two countries to work together on a variety of issues, including irregular migration, counterterrorism, organized crime, and security cooperation, among others.
These consistent historical and geographic variables, help us understand the nature of the interactions between Morocco and Spain as well as the foundation of the state policies adopted by both countries.
The strategic partnership relations between the two nations have seen significant growth in recent years, due to shared interests and reliance, which aid in crisis resolution. Morocco’s top trading partner at the moment is Spain, with about $20 billion in trade taking place between the two nations.
The Autonomy Plan of Morocco was supported by the Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, in a direct communication to the King of Morocco, in which the Spanish Prime Minister described the proposal as “the most serious, realistic, and credible basis for resolving the conflict.”
On April 7, 2022, the Moroccan King met with the Spanish Prime Minister, beginning a new chapter in the bilateral relations between the two countries to more ambition and focus on strategic cooperation.
Spain and Morocco signed a road memorandum on this occasion to lay out the main axes and guidelines through which their future ties should be defined.
As a result, at the beginning of February of this year, an official meeting was conducted during which approximately 20 agreements were signed. This was in addition to the escalating number of reciprocal official visits which have increased dramatically to keep up with everything that has been agreed upon.
Is the Spanish stance on Morocco’s Autonomy Plan likely to change in the event of a right-wing government?
The non-interference in the internal politics of states, which is recognized as an international value, is the most significant of the principles guiding Moroccan foreign policy. Therefore, we are unable to predict which party will form Spain’s government.
The elections in Spain are an internal matter, governed by state institutions in accordance with national laws and the constitution. Additionally, there is still no resolution to the issue of forming the government.
In all cases, we reaffirm that Spain and Morocco have a state-to-state relationship. The state’s policy, which is framed by strategic interests and relationships, should typically be taken into consideration by democratic nations when making choices and taking positions abroad.
The Moroccan community’s civil society was outraged by some parties’ immoral behavior toward the symbols of the Kingdom of Morocco during the Spanish elections. What do you think about that?
We attentively monitored this situation and made clear that we strongly reject these anti-freedom of expression practices.
There is no room for freedom in attacking others, let alone another country’s symbol, which means offending the feelings of 40 million Moroccans. Because of this, the Moroccan civil society in Spain rejected and denounced the actions that came from a small number of persons who do not represent the Spanish people.
Our opinion is that their lack of political experience and naivety are to blame for this behavior.
Furthermore, we applaud the civilized response of the Moroccan community in Spain, which expressed strong attachment to the symbols of the Kingdom of Morocco through its representatives in various associations, and that their residence in Spain did not cause them to lose sight of their Moroccan identity and roots.
As a result, I frequently express my delight in this community, which stands out for its civil manner, assimilation into Spanish society, and contribution to the country’s economic growth.