Albares: “A new phase has begun between Rabat and Madrid.”

The Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union, and Cooperation, Jose Manuel Albares, stated on Friday that Spain, Europe, and Morocco “share vital interests” and that Morocco is a strategic partner for Spain and Europe as well as a neighbor.

“Morocco is a neighbor and a strategic partner for Spain and Europe. We share with Morocco, among other things, the management and channelling of illegal immigration, the fight against jihadism, the commitment to co-development and an interest in Africa”, noted Albares in an interview with the Spanish national radio Rne.

The head of Spanish diplomacy commented that ”without Morocco’s cooperation, Spain and Europe cannot dismantle jihadist cells and arrest terrorists”.

On the other hand, Albares indicated that the next Moroccan-Spanish High Level Meeting “will be a very important moment” in the relations between the two countries, assuring that Rabat and Madrid “have started a new phase with much more solid bases”.

We have many vital interests that must be managed jointly. The High Level Meeting is part of the Spanish-Moroccan roadmap adopted last April, during the visit of the President of the Spanish government Pedro Sanchez to Morocco,” he said, adding that since then, all bilateral working groups have been established.

Trade between the two countries has increased by 31% to reach nearly 10 billion euros, making Morocco the main trading partner of Spain outside the EU, excluding the United States and the United Kingdom, claimed Albares.

In addition, he explained, that all migration routes from Africa to Europe have grown significantly, between 60 and 150%, while those arriving in Spain have decreased by 30%, thanks to the collaboration of Morocco.

According to the new roadmap, the two nations are committed to, among other things, addressing issues of mutual concern in a “spirit of trust and consultation” and reactivating the working groups they established to revive  bilateral multisectoral cooperation.

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