The Spanish Minister Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, José Manuel Albares, in an interview granted this Sunday to journalist Enric Juliana of the Catalan newspaper “La Vanguardia”, confided, so to speak, on his political activities for the week.
On the menu, apart from the international situation (Ukraine, NATO, improvement of relations with the United States after the shift to the Moroccan Sahara, extension of the Rota naval base, United Kingdom and post-Brexit, Germany , France etc.), ocan easily imagine it, a debriefing on the Spain-Morocco High Level Meeting (RHN) could not have been outdone. Indeed, the HLM made news in both Kingdoms. Jose Manuel Albares defended an improvement in relations between Spain and Morocco based, according to him, on a reinforced political dialogue and above all mutual respect, ” What matters are the results, today we are doing better “ “ he assured.
José Manuel Albares, taking stock of RHN, did not lack praise. Responding to the journalist on the summit between the two countries in Rabat, with twelve ministers from the government of Pedro Sanchez and without King Mohammed VI, the head of Spanish diplomacy replied, “it was an excellent summit, there have never been so many Spanish and Moroccan ministers on both sides of the table noting that “it brought together 28 ministers in total“. Remember that no Podemos minister was among them.
“ There have never been so many agreements signed he will say, we did not go to Rabat looking for photos or formal acts, we went looking for results and the main thing is a new relational model based on mutual benefit, the absence of unilateral actions, transparency and permanent communication. Allow me to insist, he continued, King Mohammed VI certainly did not receive the President of the Spanish government for royal constraints, but the Moroccan Sovereign was personally involved in the preparation of the HLM.
The head of Spanish diplomacy will add that “the current president of the Spanish government is probably the one who has seen the king of Morocco the most times. Moreover, President Pedro Sanchez has received an invitation to Rabat for an upcoming meeting with Mohamed VI. According to the press release from the royal cabinet, it will be soon. Spain has changed its position on the Sahara, admitting that there is the possibility of it becoming an autonomous region of Morocco, as long as it bears the seal of the UN. For the first time Moroccan sovereignty over the Sahara is accepted despite Algeria’s anger as a result.
The PSOE will explain José Manuel Albares, avoids voting on European Parliament resolutions that could make Morocco uncomfortable. The Spanish government is taking extreme precautions. It is an asymmetrical balance. In the dynamic between Spain and Morocco, what counts are the results. Concrete ones are beneficial for both parties and to detail them, “enhanced political dialogue, mutual respect, improvement of commercial relations (a record world turnover) 50% of Spanish investments in Africa are concentrated in Morocco, investment plan Moroccan investment of 45 billion euros, open to Spanish companies, investment opportunities in the railway sector, in the water sector, in sanitation, in the agro-food sector, greater presence of education in Spanish in Moroccan schools…
The big question he will pursue concerns “the future of the Sahara and Spain will be on the side of the UN commissioner”. On the question of the control of irregular immigration, José Manuel Albares will say “Yes, if we take the figures for this month of January as a reference. The arrival of irregular immigrants on the Andalusian coasts has decreased by 69% and on the route to the Canary Islands it has decreased by 82% compared to the previous financial year. As for Algiers “With Algeria, we want relations based on mutual respect”.
Then returning to Spanish politics, he will go on to say that “The People’s Party maintains that Spain was humiliated and ignored in Rabat. Former Foreign Minister José Manuel García-Margallo claims that Spain has become a Moroccan protectorate. They don’t know what they’re talking about. If the PP ruled Spain right now, we would have a very deep crisis with Morocco. Did we forget Parsley ?” Neglecting Spain’s relations with Morocco, I think, renders this party incapable of governing. ” We must avoid anything that offends the other party, especially since it affects our respective spheres of sovereignty.. »
As for Sebta and Melilla, the Spanish MAE has indicated that customs will be organized as “we have agreed, that is to say, through a schedule that will be rolled out gradually. On January 27, the customs office in Melilla, closed since 2018, was reopened. We don’t want to rush things”. To the questions did Morocco ask for total control of the airspace of the Sahara? Has Morocco proposed the opening of a Spanish consulate in Western Sahara? Albares will answer that the Spanish position on the Sahara is perfectly reflected through point number 7 of the joint declaration of the Rabat summit.
The head of the Spanish diplomacy remained straight in his boots when he was questioned about a possible discussion in Rabat on the withdrawal of France from Mali and Burkina Faso, the problems of the Sahel or the presence of the Wagner company in this zone. He will dodge this question by brandishing the off topic. Imperturbable, he will say “Morocco is a very important country in Africa, we must also talk about this continent. That said, a new model of relationship with Morocco based on consultation was born”.
Impassive, will he also be about Spain’s course of action with Algeria? “we want exactly the same relationship as with all our neighbours. A relationship based on mutual respect, mutual benefit and non-interference in internal affairs”. He will skip over a lot of questions like the ones he didn’t deem to be his like, “EIs there still a mediation attempt by King Abdullah II of Jordan to improve relations between Morocco and Algeria? Do you know of any improvement in relations, even minimal, between the United States and Algeria? Are you aware of US interest in opening a military base in Morocco for greater force projection in the Sahel?”.
“I am not aware“will he respond to these curiosities,”it is not my job to comment on relations between other countries. What I do know is that Spain has a first-rate relationship with the United States, which it has not had for several decades”.