Minister insists no tension in Morocco-Spanish relations
Minister delegate for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Taib Fassi Fihri denied any tension in relations between Morocco and Spain because some Spanish delegations were accused by Rabat of supporting the separatist movement Polisario, according to MAP.
Fassi Fihri who spoke Monday evening to the Arab satellite TV "Al Jazeera" said that both countries have started a deep political dialogue to increase security and stability in the Euro-Mediterranean region with the strategy set up by Morocco's King Mohammed VI and Spain's King Juan Carlos as well as Spanish Premier José Luis Rodriguez zapatero.
Moroccan authorities have recently deported some Spanish activists known for their support to the Algeria-backed separatist movement Polisario. The latter has been claiming since 1976 the separation of the Moroccan Southern Provinces -known as the Sahara- from the rest of the Kingdom. A former Spanish colony, the Sahara was recovered by Morocco under the 1975 Madrid Accords signed with Spain and Mauritania.
The expulsion of these delegations from the airport of Laayoune ( Sahara) is due to the fact that they are also known for the their "opposition to Morocco's legitimate position to defend its territorial integrity," the minister explained.
He noted that these people insisted in coming to Morocco although they were not authorized, adding that these visits are part of a "strong and radical campaign and of provocative acts" advocating "the creation of an independent entity, in other words, the partition of Morocco, or the threat to resort to military operations," in an allusion to the repeated statements by Polisario leaders to resume war despite the 1991 UN-brokered ceasefire.
Touching on relations between Morocco and its eastern neighbor Algeria, two countries that are at loggerheads because of the latter's political, military, financial and strategic support to the Polisario, the minister recalled the visit paid last March by King Mohammed VI to Algiers on the occasion of the Arab Summit, a visit during which he agreed with Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to adopt a "comprehensive strategy aimed at giving a new impetus to the two countries' relations and to work together for re-energizing the North African regional grouping known as the Arab Maghreb Union mustering Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Mauritania) which is stalled because of the Sahara dispute.
He said both leaders have also agreed to allow the United Nations find, in cooperation with the concerned parties, a final political solution to this issue. He deplored in this regard the latest "radical" statements by the highest Algerian authorities, in particular the message sent by President Bouteflika to the "President of a puppet state," in an allusion to self-proclaimed Sahrawi Arab delmocratic Republic, set up in Algeria's southern region of Tindouf. He said these statements "have gone far beyond Algeria's traditional stance which insists on the respect of the principle of self-determination and calls this time for the creation of an independent Sahrawi state, which means the partition of the Kingdom of Morocco."