On Thursday, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez is set to meet Moroccan King Mohammed VI on his two-day visit to Rabat. The meeting will signify a resolution of diplomatic issues surrounding Morocco’s contested Western Sahara area.
Morocco now seeks reassurance that Spain’s backing for the autonomy proposal represents a fundamental shift in the country’s foreign policy. Last year, King Mohammed stated that Morocco will not enter into any commercial agreements with countries that oppose Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara.
As per the Spanish government official, the king will invite Sanchez with his family for an iftar meal to break the day’s fast during the month of Ramadan.
Officials call the meeting an opportunity to open a “new stage” in ties with Morocco on the basis of “mutual respect”. It further said they will also discuss “restraint from any unilateral action to honour the importance of all that we share and to avoid future crises”.
Last April, relations between the two countries, which are separated by the Strait of Gibraltar, were extremely strained. At the request of Morocco’s neighbour Algeria, an ally of pro-independence Sahrawis, Spain allowed the leader of the pro-independence movement for Western Sahara to obtain medical treatment for COVID-19 at a Spanish hospital.