“We have an intense bilateral program covering all aspects of our bilateral relationship, based on transparency, permanent communication and mutual respect. These are the principles of a sincere cooperation between two strategic partners like Spain and Morocco,” said the head of Spanish diplomacy at the end of his talks with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccans Abroad, Nasser Bourita, on the sidelines of the 77th UN General Assembly.
According to Albares, this is a “new stage” in relations between Madrid and Rabat, adding that the interview with Bourita has served as an opportunity to establish the basis for “next steps”.
“We have achieved a more-than-significant progress that the Moroccan and Spanish people are already enjoying,” he said, referring to the resumption of links, “which has also allowed thousands of families to be reunited this summer through this operation after these years of pandemics.”
He also stressed that he has agreed with his Moroccan counterpart for the holding, as planned, of the high-level meeting before the end of the year, “the objective being that this will be possible during the month of November.
For the Spanish minister, this meeting will be “a new opportunity to take stock and continue to move forward together and reaffirm the Spanish-Moroccan friendship.
While recalling that this high-level meeting has not been held since 2015, he noted that, since last April, all the working groups created in accordance with the roadmap of the Joint Declaration at the end of discussions between His Majesty King Mohammed VI and the President of the Spanish government, Pedro Sánchez, “have held meetings and are meeting the work schedule provided.”
Regarding the “regular and orderly” movement of goods, the Spanish minister noted that Spanish exports to Morocco have increased by 30% in just one year, reaching 6,000 million euros, consolidating Spain’s position as the Kingdom’s leading trading partner.
“But want to go further, that’s why we are working with the objective of achieving a land passage for goods next January,” he said, stressing that as part of the “reactivation” of bilateral cooperation, both sides have “agreed to work for the orderly and gradual passage of goods to land customs posts begins in January.
Albares also announced that the Spanish government will approve a project for a fund to promote development worth 20 million euros, the first project over 20 years in Morocco to provide microcredit to promote the inclusion of youth and women in the productive system.
He said that cooperation between the two countries will also focus on technical assistance in the railway sector, the water sector and for the establishment of integrated systems.
As for migration, the Spanish minister referred to “evidence of excellent cooperation”, noting that the figures of irregular arrivals have been reduced by 20% in the last four months compared to the same period last year.
“This is the result, among other things, of the joint work against the criminal networks of human trafficking. We have agreed to continue strengthening this cooperation, especially on the Atlantic coast,” he said.
Finally, Albares said that as part of the “reactivation” of bilateral cooperation, both sides have “agreed to work for the orderly and gradual passage of goods through land customs posts to begin in January.