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    Spain-Morocco Crisis: BAM Governor Says Morocco’s Sovereignty Is Not Negotiable

    The comment came after the governor was asked if the BAM has any concerns due to the episode of crisis that Morocco has with Spain.

    24 Jun 2021

    The governor of Morocco’s central bank, Bank Al-Maghrib, Abdellatif Jouahri, emphasized that the country’s territorial integrity and sovereignty come before anything else, including the continuation of trade and cooperation with partner countries.

    Jouahri made his remarks during a video conference on June 22.

    When asked about where BAM stands in the ongoing feud between Morocco and Spain, Jouahri said that “what affects Morocco’s national sovereignty and our territorial integrity is not negotiable.”

    BAM was not interested in making “economic calculations,” he added, emphasizing that territorial integrity is of utmost importance for Morocco.

    Jouahri also underlined Morocco’s efforts to develop its southern provinces in all areas, including infrastructure, industry, education, and culture.

    Emphasizing the North African country’s counterterrorism efforts, the BAM governor also recalled Morocco’s key role in helping Europe secure its borders.

    “The southern border of Europe is incredibly secure. Look at what it costs them in Mali,” he said.

    Jouahri emphasized Spain’s responsibility in the crisis, saying that it is “up to whoever it is to resolve” the crisis with Morocco.

    “They wanted to bring him back in secret, but the doldrums have been blown,” he said referring to Spain’s decision to allow Polisario leader Brahim Ghali to enter its territory with a fake passport and identity.

    Ghali entered Spain in April after he tested positive for COVID-19. Spain and Algeria arranged for the Polisario leader to be secretly hospitalized in a Spanish hospital.

    However, Morocco’s intelligence detected Ghali’s presence in Spain.

    After weeks of simmering tensions between Spain and Morocco over Madrid’s dismissive downplaying of the seriousness of its decision to shelter Ghali, the Madrid-Rabat fallout took a new turn when Morocco declared it longer viewed Spain as a trusted and reliable ally.

    For their part, many Spanish officials attributed the fallout to the unprecedented influx of irregular migrants Ceuta in mid-May and accused Morocco of weaponizing migration to “blackmail” Spain.

    In response, Morocco emphasized its role in migration management and the fight against human trafficking and other transnational criminal networks in the Mediterranean.

    But the most recent statements by Spain’s Foreign Affairs Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya suggest Madrid is looking to de-escalate tensions with Rabat.

    In a recent interview with Spanish outlet La Vanguardia, Laya said that her government is working to regain Morocco’s trust to end the ongoing crisis “as soon as possible.”

    On Western Sahara, Laya claimed that Madrid does not seek to mediate in the conflict and is instead committed to the centrality of the UN-led political process.

    “We will work to create a space of trust from which the relationship can be straightened out. It requires great caution on my part,” she said.

    Given Spain’s apparent espousal of pro-Polisario rhetoric in recent weeks - cooperating with Algeria to shelter Ghali and pleading with the Biden administration to reconsider the recognition of Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara - Laya’s comments have failed to impress many in Rabat.

    For other observers, however, coded concession statements from senior Spanish officials could calm nerves and gradually put to bed the much-discussed eventuality of a complete severing of diplomatic ties between Madrid and Rabat.

    akhbar-alkhaleej

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