- Analysis: Spain and Morocco clash for control of their maritime borders
- Foreign countries: Spain will reject unilateral changes of the maritime border with Morocco if there is no agreement between the two
After the escalation of tension this week, after Morocco passed two bills that define a maritime area of economic scope that overlaps the waters of the Canary Islands , the foreign ministers of the two countries, who met today in Rabat, they lowered their tone and preferred to highlight "the excellent relations" between both countries and bet on "the dialogue" to resolve any differences.
The first bilateral trip of the new Minister of Foreign Affairs, Arancha González Laya, was successfully completed. The two heads of diplomacy appeared together in the afternoon and responded to the dispute that has clouded the relations of both states this week.
The Moroccan Foreign Minister, Naser Burita , assured the journalists, in the presence of González Laya, that "there will be no policy of consummated facts or unilateral decisions" regarding the definition of the territorial waters of Morocco.
González Laya responded a few minutes later by celebrating these "tremendously reassuring words for those who had doubts" and added that he was thinking especially about the citizens of the Canary Islands, to whom he reiterated that "there will be no unilateral policy, but dialogue to reach solutions to Mutual agreement".
Both the minister and Burita agreed that Morocco has the right to delimit its maritime spaces, as allowed by international law. In the same way that Spain did in 2010, according to the Moroccan minister on several occasions, "to delimit borders in the Canary archipelago." But González Laya added that the Alawi kingdom also has "the duty, in cases of overlapping with other countries, to do so by mutual agreement with the other country and respecting the rules." "This is a very solid starting point to work in the future," reiterated the Spanish minister.
"Turn a problem into an advantage"
Burita took the floor to abound in the same direction, but went a little further, suggesting the launch of "an operational mechanism to turn what can be a problem into an advantage."
The minister showed at all times the hand extended to Spain and stressed that "international law provides for dialogue in case of overlap [of maritime borders], and this dialogue is in our DNA and will be the basis of any arrangement."
In the meeting that both had previously held, Burita already assured González Laya, as she explained herself, that there will be no "policy of consummate facts or unilateral decisions", as she explained in the press conference, but respect for the rules of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea . According to the minister, this is "a very solid starting point" for the dialogue that both will have to do "in those spaces where there is water overlap."
This is not the only dispute that Spain has open with Morocco. The journalists asked the Foreign Minister yesterday about the differences in the borders of Ceuta and Melilla - for the closure of the customs office of Melilla by Morocco in 2018 and for informal trade on the border of Ceuta. González Laya advocated also betting on opening "avenues for dialogue and consultation", as with maritime borders.
The two ministers expressed their desire to "deepen" the relationship between the two countries, which enjoyed an important boost in 2019, after the visit of the State of the Kings Felipe VI and Letizia.
The two governments want to convene as soon as possible the High Level Meeting (bilateral summit), which has not met since 2015. Laya also advocated that the European Union improve its cooperation policies with Morocco, one of the most important aspects for the neighbor del Sur, which has the support and help of Spain.
González Laya also met before in Rabat with Moroccan Prime Minister Salah Eddine el Otmani , and inaugurated the new headquarters of the Spanish Consulate in Rabat.
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- Canary Islands
- European Union
- Arancha González Laya
- Philip VI
- Queen Letizia
Politics Concern in the Government before the new offensive of Morocco to expand its territorial waters
Foreign Affairs Spain will reject unilateral changes of the maritime border with Morocco if there is no agreement between the two
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