The Government delegate in Ceuta, Rafael García Rodríguez (left), speaks on the phone, on May 25, at the border of Tarajal, between Ceuta and Morocco.Antonio Sempere (Europa Press)
Morocco insists on questioning the vice president of the European Commission responsible for immigration, Margaritis Schinas, for defending that Ceuta and Melilla are Spanish and European Union borders. The spokesman of the Government of Rabat, Mustafa Baitas, has assured this Thursday after the meeting of the Council of Ministers that the diplomatic complaint presented by his country on May 17, in which the position of Schinas was criticized, was a "necessary clarification to the slippage occurred" by his successive statements during the last two years on the Spanishness of both North African autonomous cities.
Baitas hinted that Morocco's position on Ceuta and Melilla is "inevitable" despite the good understanding that exists with Spain, according to the Moroccan digital portal Hespress. As reported by the Efe agency, the spokesman made the statement about the "slippage" of Schinas when asked about the note verbale sent to the Embassy of Rabat in Madrid by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which was reported on Wednesday. This diplomatic letter "categorically" rejected the language used by Morocco to refer as "Moroccans" to the two places of sovereignty in North Africa, according to government sources, who stressed that "the Spanish borders, including Ceuta and Melilla, are internationally recognized."
The new diplomatic friction between Madrid and Rabat comes after the Moroccan Foreign Ministry maintained the Moroccanness of Ceuta and Melilla in the document sent to the European Commission to question the vice president responsible for Immigration. The annex to the note verbale sent to the Delegation (Embassy) of the EU in Rabat compiled a dozen statements by Schinas described as "hostile" about Morocco and, he added, "the Moroccan cities of Ceuta and Melilla". The request for more information addressed this Thursday by EL PAÍS to the Moroccan Foreign Ministry did not receive a response.
The spokesman of the Moroccan Government has refrained from responding directly to the diplomatic complaint presented by Spain and has assured, in return, that bilateral relations between the two countries are based on "trust, joint coordination and mutual respect", according to a statement cited by Efe. "I affirm once again that Morocco is proud and maintains an important cooperation with neighboring Spain, based on trust and joint involvement to face the different challenges, whether economic or social," Baitar said referring to the "new stage" of ties between the two countries.
Morocco still seems not to formally abide by the commitment made with Spain to "avoid everything that offends the other party, especially in what affects the respective spheres of sovereignty", as announced on February 2 in Rabat by the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, referring to Western Sahara, on the one hand, and Ceuta and Melilla. of another. Marred by the delay in the opening of commercial customs at common land borders, the High-Level Meeting, at which the governments of Madrid and Rabat made their reunion official three months ago in the Moroccan capital, emphasized the key issue of sovereignty. Until now, the declarations claiming the Moroccanness of Ceuta and Melilla had been produced by politicians located outside the Government, such as the president of the Senate, and had been disavowed by the Executive.
From Brussels, the European Commission has shown its support for Schinas on Thursday. The EU Foreign Affairs spokeswoman, Nabila Massrali, has defended the importance of protecting Europe's external borders as part of a global approach, according to Europa Press. "This is the meaning of the statements of Vice President Schinas regarding the Spanish cities of Ceuta and Melilla," the spokeswoman said.
In the European Union it has drawn attention, with a mixture of "surprise and discomfort", that Morocco has presented the note verbale in the EU Delegation in Rabat against Schinas two years after it first pronounced on the Spanishness of Ceuta and Melilla. It happened shortly after more than 10,000 people stormed Spain across the Tarajal border in Ceuta, amid the passivity of Moroccan authorities.
Subscribe to continue reading
Read without limits
I'm already a subscriber