Spanish PM Pays First Official Visit to Morocco

Spanish Socialist Prime minister Pedro Sanchez arrived this Monday in Morocco on his first official visit to the neighboring country since he took office in June.

Pedro Sanchez is accompanied during this trip by Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska and will meet his Moroccan peer Saâd-Eddine El Othmani.

Talks will focus on issues related to security in the region, the Moroccan Sahara issue, migration and economic cooperation, in addition to the African Continent’s development.

“Mr. Sanchez, will thank King Mohammed VI and his Moroccan peer for Morocco’s efforts and commitment in the fight against terrorism and illegal immigration”, said Spanish News agency EFE, citing official sources.

Spain will remain Morocco’s ally at the European Union, the sources added, recalling the letter sent by Mr. Sanchez to EU requesting an increase of European financial support to the North African Kingdom to help it in its efforts to counter the migrants flow.

The value of Spanish-Moroccan trade increased to more than €14 billion in 2017, according to figures published by the Spanish media on the eve of the PM’s visit. Trade between the two countries increased on both sides by 12%. Spain buys from Morocco electrical equipment, fruits and vegetables, clothing and seafood, while Morocco imports petroleum products, vehicle equipment and textiles from Spain.

Morocco is Spain’s second largest market outside the European Union and its largest market in Africa. The two countries are bound by 105 bilateral agreements, and nearly a thousand Spanish companies are operating in Morocco. Some 800,000 Moroccan expatriates are settled in Spain.

Sanchez, 46, a former economics professor, managed to unseat his conservative predecessor, Mariano Rajoy, through a no-confidence vote held in protest against corruption within Rajoy’s party.

In June, Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell visited Morocco and hailed the sound friendship ties and the strategic partnership existing between Rabat and Madrid, and their shared common history and interests.

The two countries “are not only friends and neighbors, but they are also strategic partners determined to strengthen further their bilateral relations, based on respect, dialogue and mutual trust”, Borrell had said.

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