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Morocco a ‘Strategic Partner’, ‘Not Just Any Neighbor’ – Spanish FM

Spanish Foreign Minister, José Manuel Albares, has once again described Morocco as “a strategic partner,” saying it is “not just any neighbor” for Spain.

“Morocco is a strategic partner, not just any neighbor. You have to have the best relations with its neighbors, in this case Morocco, and that is what Spain has achieved,” Albares stressed during a meeting organized b “Las Provincias” newspaper on Wednesday in Valencia.

Last February, the two kingdoms held in Morocco the first High-Level Meeting (HLM) in 11 years, said the head of Spanish diplomacy, who stressed that it was the meeting that brought together the largest number of ministers from both governments, the one that resulted in the largest number of agreements that totaled 20.

In this regard, Albares stressed the importance of cooperation between the two countries in various areas.

“If we take chapters as important as trade, we have reached the record figure of 20 billion euros of exchanges, 11,000 Spanish companies export to Morocco, and 1,100 companies operate in Morocco,” he said.

Touching on the joint management of the phenomenon of irregular migration, the Spanish official indicated that “all the European routes are increasing in an exponential and unthinkable way, with 305% via Italy, 95% via Greece, and an average drop of 75% through the Canary Islands and Andalusia.”

In the Joint Declaration that crowned the work of their 12th High-Level Meeting, held on February 1 and 2 in Rabat, Morocco and Spain expressed their commitment to perpetuate the relations of excellence that have always united them and reaffirmed their will to permanently enrich them.

The meeting highlighted by the signing of several cooperation agreements in various fields, such as migration management, tourism, infrastructure, water resources, the environment, agriculture, vocational training, social security, transport, health security and research and development.

In another development, the Spanish Confederation of Business Organizations (CEOE) underlined that Morocco is the most important trading partner of Spain in Africa, thanks to its strategic position and stability.

“Morocco is our great southern neighbor, gateway to the African continent. Its geographical location, between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, makes the kingdom a country of crucial importance, both by its proximity to Europe and its location in the Maghreb region,” said the CEOE in a framework note, published on the occasion of the holding, Monday in Madrid, of a Moroccan-Spanish business meeting, with the participation of more than 150 business leaders from both countries.

“The economic ties between Spain and Morocco, favored by geographical proximity and regular official contacts, generate an intense commercial activity and investment,” said the Spanish Confederation of Business Organizations, recalling that agreements between Rabat and Madrid aim to promote a ”framework more conducive” to the development of trade and cooperation.

The CEOE also pointed out that the Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreement between the European Union and Morocco, in force since 2000, has created a free trade area between the two parties, with significant tariff reductions, and has promoted access of Moroccan agricultural products to the Spanish and European markets.

Morocco and Spain adopted a new roadmap on April 7, 2022, during the visit of Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez to Morocco at the invitation of King Mohammed VI. The two countries have then committed, among other things, to address issues of common interest in a spirit of trust and consultation while reactivating the working groups set up between the two countries to revive multi-sectoral bilateral cooperation. And now, the roadmap is bearing fruit!

Source: North Africa Post