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Spanish leaders arrive in Morocco for “historic” high-level meeting

Spanish leaders arrive in Morocco for “historic” high-level meeting
Spain hopes to strengthen ties around trade. migration with southern neighbor

By Alyssa McMurtry

OVIEDO, Spain (AA) - Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez arrived Wednesday in the Moroccan capital of Rabat to begin a series of meetings with the Moroccan political and business community.

Sanchez is being joined by other ministers where they plan a diplomatic offensive to strengthen ties, particularly around trade and migration.

Politicians will meet Thursday for the first high-level meeting between the two countries in eight years, which Sanchez called “historic.”

Previously strained relations have thawed significantly since Madrid decided to back Rabat’s position on Western Sahara autonomy last year.

Improved relations are one of the main reasons why irregular migration to Spain dropped 25% last year compared to 2021. But the issue will be a key matter of discussion.

Business ties will also be crucial. Spanish Trade and Industry Minister Maria Reyes Maroto announced in Rabat that Spain will double its credit line for investments in Morocco to €800 million ($869 million).

She insisted that Morocco is “a strategic partner for Spain” and the two countries hope to sign a series of agreements Thursday.

Sanchez addressed a business forum late Wednesday.

The Spanish premier was received by his Moroccan counterpart but will not meet King Mohamed VI.

The Spanish government said in a statement that Sanchez spoke to the monarch by telephone and both agreed that the high-level meeting “will be a success.”

But Spain’s warming relations with Morocco have come at a high cost in terms of its relationship with Algeria.

After Madrid changed its position on Western Sahara, Algeria froze the bulk of commercial relations with Spain.

Spanish exports to the country plummeted 82%, according to government trade data from November.

source: News Feed
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