The King of Morocco says he wants to open an unprecedented stage with Spain

The King of Morocco, Mohammed VI, settled this Friday the diplomatic crisis with Spain wishing to “inaugurate an unprecedented stage” in relations between the two countries, which should be based on “trust, transparency, mutual consideration and respect for commitments”.

“With sincere optimism, we express the desire to continue working with the Spanish government and its president, Pedro Sanchez, in order to inaugurate an unprecedented stage in relations between our two countries,” the monarch said Friday in the speech he delivers annually on the occasion of the King and People’s Revolution.

Mohamed VI spoke for the first time of the crisis that opened last April by the hospitalization in Spain of the leader of the Polisario Front, Brahim Gali, and the subsequent massive influx of migrants in May to the autonomous city of Ceuta to the Moroccan passivity.

These events led to the greatest rift in relations between the two countries since Morocco occupied the islet of Perejil in 2002. It was, as the Moroccan king himself said in his speech, “an unprecedented crisis that has severely shaken mutual trust and has raised several questions about their future”.

Signs of rapprochement

But in recent weeks, and following the dismissal of the former foreign minister, Arancha González Laya, Morocco has shown signs of rapprochement, such as accepting the return of the hundreds of minors who entered Ceuta in May. This Friday, Mohamed VI affirmed that his country has worked with “the utmost calm, total clarity and spirit of responsibility” to reach an understanding with Spain, talks that he himself, he said, has been part of.

The monarch followed “personally and directly the process of dialogue, as well as the development of the talks”, which have aimed, he remarked, “not only to find a way out of this crisis, but also to take advantage of the opportunity to redefine the bases and parameters governing these relations”. Morocco is, according to Mohamed VI, “committed to building solid, constructive and balanced relations, especially with neighbouring countries” such as Spain.

His intention, he said, is to “strengthen the classic foundations that underlie these relations, through a joint understanding of the interests of the two countries”. The monarch also referred to the relations between Morocco and France, sustained, he recalled, by the strong ties “of friendship and mutual esteem” that unite him with its president, Emmanuel Macron.

Other nations

He did not refer on the other hand to relations with Germany, a country with which Morocco has had a diplomatic crisis since last May, when it recalled its ambassador to Berlin for consultations and reproached his country for its “negative attitude” on the question of the Sahara. Nor, expressly, to Algeria, its neighbour to the east, with which it also has difficult relations, which have worsened since Morocco’s rapprochement with Israel.

In his speech a few weeks ago, Mohammed VI extended a hand to this country, but Algeria not only has not taken up the gauntlet, but this week accused its neighbour of being behind the fires that have ravaged the country and announced that it will reconsider relations between the two. The king assured that “there are those who claim that Morocco is being attacked because it has changed its political and strategic orientation, as well as its ‘modus operandi’ in dealing with certain diplomatic issues”. “This is not the case,” he said, adding that “Morocco has certainly changed, but not in the direction desired by its detractors”.

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