Marta BelverSpecial envoy Rabat

Special Envoy Rabat

Updated Thursday, February 22, 2024-08:47

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More than a year had to pass for

Mohamed VI

to compensate

Pedro Sánchez

for the sit-in that the King of Morocco gave him during what until this Wednesday had been his last official visit to Rabat, resolving the diplomatic courtesy with a phone call from Gabon.

On an express trip by the President of the Government to the capital of the country with which Spain shares land and maritime borders, both leaders held a 40-minute meeting that served to visualize that relations between both nations are at "their best moment in decades." .

However, the head of the central Executive returned to Madrid without a specific commitment as to when the


customs office will reopen and one will be created for the first time in


to "normalize" trade flows - an agreement signed in February 2023 -, only a ambiguous "soon."

Sources from La Moncloa specified that there are no underlying political or legal problems in this delay, but rather "technical issues" such as the traceability of food products.

The Spanish Government did not confirm the meeting with Mohamed VI until the plane was landing at around noon this Wednesday at the Rabat airport.

The hearing took place at five in the afternoon at the Royal Palace after the president had held a meeting of more than two hours with his Moroccan counterpart,

Aziz Ajanuch

, with whom he shared a seven-course lunch.

In a press conference at the end of the visit, Sánchez explained that on the Spanish side "all the tasks are done" for the commercial opening of the borders in the autonomous cities and that there will soon be a new bilateral meeting to "clarify the regulations of customs".

"I hope there will be significant progress soon," he confided, without being able to provide an approximate date.

In a general way, the President of the Government also stressed that the cooperation between both countries is "exemplary" in the control of illegal immigration and in the fight against criminal networks that "unfortunately cause thousands of victims."

Likewise, he pointed out that he has "no reproach to make at all either" in the collaboration to combat drug trafficking after the death on February 9 of two Civil Guard agents in the Cadiz town of Barbate, run over by a drug boat. .

Among the issues addressed yesterday by the representatives of both countries, the infrastructure projects necessary in Morocco to host the

2030 World Cup

together with Spain and Portugal, in which the Alawite kingdom has "a lot of interest", occupied a prominent place.

At La Moncloa they point out that "there will be many opportunities for Spanish companies."

What the authorities of the neighboring country also conveyed to the Madrid delegation is that they miss "more cooperation" with the Ibex 35 companies. To try to build bridges in this sense, the Government plans to organize an economic forum within the framework of the next High Level Meeting (RAN) between both nations to be held in 2025, this time in Spanish territory.

In addition, Sánchez spoke with his interlocutors about current international conflicts, such as the war between Israel and Gaza.

"Morocco values ​​very positively the brave position that the Government of Spain has maintained from the beginning in this crisis," they underline in La Moncloa in reference to the demand for recognition of the Palestinian State and that the president warned

Benjamin Netanyahu

's Executive that the response to the Hamas attacks "cannot involve the death of thousands of children" in the Strip.

"Clear" position with the Sahara

In his public appearance yesterday, the president only referred to the issue of

Western Sahara

when asked by journalists from the host country.

He did so to reaffirm his "clearly established" position with the turn he made in 2022 so that the former colony becomes an autonomous region within Morocco, the position that the African country champions in the face of the call for a self-determination referendum that until then it had been defended by Spanish diplomacy.

The Government does not hide its satisfaction with the symbolism of this official visit of just six hours and insists that the relationship "has never been at the level it is now", a situation that they attribute to "the trust and loyalty" that are professed after the crisis opened by the admission of the leader of the Polisario Front,

Brahim Gali

, to the Logroño hospital to be treated for Covid.

"The roadmap is the backbone," they emphasize about the battery of agreements that were reached at last year's bilateral summit.

During the audience at the Royal Palace of Rabat yesterday, the monarch and Sánchez exchanged a few words in Spanish and the President of the Government conveyed greetings from

Felipe VI

, with whom Mohamed VI said he had not spoken on the phone for a long time.

Sánchez responded that the King will be delighted to talk with him because he has a very special affection for both him and Morocco.