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FM Albares: Spain’s support for the Autonomy Plan for the Sahara remains unchanged


Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs José Manuel Albares reiterated, on Thursday from Rabat, his country’s position regarding the Sahara issue.

“The position of Spain regarding the issue of the Sahara has not changed. It is the same as already expressed in the Joint Declaration adopted on April 7, 2022, and the Declaration concluding the 12th Morocco-Spain High-Level Meeting in February 2023,” said Spain’s top diplomat during the joint press briefing held after his discussions with his Moroccan peer Nasser Bourita on Thursday.

It is worth recalling that the Joint Declaration, adopted on April 7, 2022, during the meeting between King Mohammed VI and the President of the Spanish Government Pedro Sánchez, states that “Spain considers the Moroccan autonomy initiative, presented in 2007, as the most serious, realistic, and credible basis for the resolution of this dispute.”

Madrid acknowledges the importance of the Sahara issue for Morocco, as well as the serious and credible efforts of Morocco within the framework of the United Nations to find a mutually acceptable solution, the declaration stated, specifying that “this position of Spain will be included in the new sustainable and ambitious roadmap that the two countries intend to establish.”

It should be noted that Mr. Albares chose Morocco for his first official visit to Africa after the recent legislative elections in Spain. Following these elections, Pedro Sanchez returned to the helm of the Spanish government and Albares kept his portfolio. The coalition government formed following the elections includes the far-left party Sumar, known for its sympathy towards the Polisario separatists.

However, Albares delivered a strong message in this connection, stating that Spain’s position on the Moroccan Sahara is “a matter for the Spanish state.” In other words, the composition of the coalition government will not impact Spain’s stance on the Sahara.

At the news conference, Albares also commended the coordination between Morocco and Spain on regional issues, calling it “a real model of regional cooperation in the service of peace, security and prosperity.”

Coordination between the two countries, particularly regarding the Euro-Mediterranean area, the Sahel region, and Africa in general, has been greatly strengthened thanks to the dynamism of the strategic partnership between Morocco and Spain, which is supported by the impetus given by King Mohammed VI and the President of the Spanish Government, Pedro Sanchez, during their meeting of April 2022 in Rabat, he said.

Albares also reiterated Spain’s interest in Morocco as a friendly country, an important partner, and a key player in the development of the southern Mediterranean neighborhood.

During their meeting, the two Foreign Ministers reaffirmed their shared willingness to further strengthen cooperation on regional issues, particularly in the Sahel region, which faces several challenges, stressing that cooperation between Morocco and Spain sets an example to be followed in the region, and makes a laudable contribution to peace, stability, and development.

In addition, the Spanish minister praised the concrete actions and ambitious programs undertaken by Morocco in Africa, in several important sectors, to support the Continent’s human and economic development, adding that this testifies to Morocco’s commitment to regional economic integration.

In this context, Albares and Bourita stressed the importance of exploring means and avenues for cooperation to establish innovative and strategic partnerships, which will be launched, within the framework of the Royal Vision, both in Morocco and at the level of the African Continent, and who’s positive and win-win spinoffs will contribute to peace, security, development, and prosperity in Africa and Europe.

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