Spain and Morocco will hold their long-awaited bilateral summit on February 1 and 2

The holding of a High Level Meeting (RAN) between Spain and Morocco was one of the main pending issues in bilateral relations. According to the joint document signed after the visit of the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, to the Moroccan King Mohamed VI, the meeting was to take place before the end of 2022. Officially, agenda issues delayed the appointment. But the foreign minister Jose Manuel Albares, has confirmed the dates this Wednesday. It will be on February 1 and 2 in the capital of the neighboring country, Rabat.

The meeting, as Albares himself has highlighted on a visit to the capital of Niger, Niamey, will be attended by Sánchez himself and up to ten ministers of his Executive. The head of Foreign Affairs has met on several occasions in recent months with his Moroccan counterpart, Nasser Burita. At all times they have both affirmed that the meeting would be held despite the delays that occurred.

For the Government of Sánchez, this meeting will serve to make visible the “new stage” in relations with Morocco. The RAN has not been held since 2015 for different reasons related to the position of the Executive regarding the Western Sahara conflict. The humanitarian welcome of the Secretary General of the Polisario Front, Brahim Gali, in our country ended up breaking relations. Morocco even sent thousands of people, many of them minors, to Ceuta, linking it to the Spanish historical position in the Saharawi conflict.

Sánchez then dismissed the Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya and put Albares to rebuild relations. Finally, in March 2020, a letter from the President of the Government to the Moroccan monarch was made public. It endorsed the autonomy plan proposed by the neighboring country for Western Sahara. That caused a political earthquake and the rejection of both the Polisario Front and Algeria, with whom bilateral relations are frozen.

Among the commitments reached at the aforementioned meeting between Sánchez and Mohamed VI included the reopening of borders in Ceuta and melilla, as well as the establishment of commercial customs. The latter is expected to occur during the month of January. Albares’s announcement comes just a couple of days before the Polisario Front celebrates its XVI Congress, a conclave where it plans to intensify its commitment to armed action against Morocco

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