Ceuta and Melilla, nestled within the Spanish territory, have become a focal point of apprehension among political, civil, and human rights figures. The specter of Morocco potentially laying claim to the enclaves in the future has prompted a chorus of voices to sound the alarm, urging both local and central authorities to take preemptive measures.
Amidst the backdrop of mounting controversy surrounding a map presented by the Moroccan Embassy in Madrid, featuring the contested territories, Carlos Echevarria, the Director of the Ceuta and Melilla Observatory, has rallied for a robust response. Echevarria contends that countering Morocco’s purported annexation ambitions necessitates bolstering the autonomy and resilience of these cities through strategic investments.
Seizing upon Spain’s current presidency of the European Union, Echevarria has appealed to the continental body to fortify the stability and allure of Ceuta and Melilla. By upholding commitments to freedom and multicultural coexistence, he argues that rendering Morocco’s claim challenging is imperative. Additionally, maintaining an unswerving stance on the external frontiers of the European Union is deemed paramount to safeguarding these contested regions.
Abbas Ouardi, a professor of political science at Rabat’s Mohammed V University, asserted to MoroccoLatestNews AR that Spain’s recent actions indicate a cognizance of Morocco’s assertions over Ceuta and Melilla.
He underscores that these overtures are underpinned by a foundation of earnest dialogue and mutual respect between the two nations. He also highlights Morocco’s adeptness in managing intricate international matters, particularly with Spain as a neighbor marked by historical connections and significant diplomatic ties established in recent high-level meetings in Rabat.
The professor contends that the efforts by Spanish observatories, organizations, and factions to inject discord into the bilateral relationship between Morocco and Spain by raising these contentious issues are unlikely to bear fruit. He reasons that the strong backing of both royal institutions from both countries, as well as their respective national institutions, serves as a counterbalance to such attempts.
In a bid to preempt potential Moroccan actions, the extremist “Fox” party had earlier advocated for the inclusion of occupied ports Ceuta and Melilla under the protective umbrella of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The intention behind this move was to shield the cities from any hypothetical Moroccan aggression.
The proposal was met with disapproval by the Spanish government.