Morocco's Fisheries Minister Said Chabaatou said Tuesday that he was hopeful about reaching an accord with the European Union over fishing rights in Moroccan waters, after more than a year of negotiation deadlock.
On Wednesday, EU Fisheries Commissioner Franz Fischler will visit Rabat for talks, which broke down in November 1999 over an agreement allowing mainly Portuguese and Spanish boats to fish in Moroccan waters.
"We are on the right path. Imminent or not, all will depend on political discussions which we will undertake with a positive attitude," he told the pro-government daily Le Matin.
Morocco and the European Union have been unable to agree on how long the new accord should apply. Rabat wants a two-year deal, while the EU is holding out for a four- to five-year commitment.
So far all attempts to reach a compromise have failed. At a technical meeting on December 22 some progress was reported. An EU commission spokesman said there had been "positive" movement in the Moroccan position and expressed confidence that an accord could be achieved. — (AFP, Rabat)
© Agence France Presse 2000
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )