Morocco & Spain’s Reconciliation

Written by Jesse Moore

February 11, 2023

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and his Moroccan counterparty Aziz Akhannouch met on February 2nd in Rabat to further settle their nation’s disagreements. The two countries have longstanding disputes on Spanish enclaves in North Africa, Ceuta and Melilla, and migrants reaching Spain through Morocco. At the summit in Rabat, Spain and Morocco signed numerous agreements to boost trade and investment.

The meeting is a continuation of Spain’s renewed approach to Morocco, one that was catalyzed last year when Spain acknowledged Morocco’s sovereignty over the breakaway Western Sahara region. As the US and China have recently increased their economic relationship with Morocco, it has also become important for Spain to further establish good relations with the Maghreb nation, which is the third largest destination for Spanish exports.

The reconciliation between the two countries comes at a fortunate time for Morocco, which has recently been given the cold shoulder by France. Additionally, with Spain set to assume the presidency of the EU, Morocco would be better able to manage its relationship with the bloc. Spain, on the other hand, walks a diplomatic tightrope – relations with Algeria, Spain’s largest supplier of natural gas, worsened considerably after Spain recognized Morocco’s authority over the Western Sahara. For Morocco, these developments could prove opportune as the region is being affected by geopolitical alignment stemming from the war in Ukraine and other global developments.

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