Spanish Queen’s Visit to Ceuta Would Stir up Rabat’s Anger
A diplomatic frost is silently developing between Rabat and Madrid, after Spanish media spoke of an upcoming visit by the Queen of Spain to the enclave of Ceuta on September 9.
The Spanish-occupied city of Ceuta is yet again at the heart of a new row after Morocco protested in 2007 against a visit by Juan Carlos, then king of Spain, to the city. Back then, Morocco described the visit as a provocation and recalled its ambassador to Madrid in protest.
The silent anger of Rabat concerning the announced visit is also triggered by the agenda of the visit, as the Queen is expected to attend a military ceremony with the participation of Spain’s defense minister Maria Dolores de Cospedal.
As a first incidence, a friendly game between Morocco’s Moghreb Tetuan and AD Ceuta has been canceled upon instructions from the government of Morocco.
Some analysts ascribe the chill in Moroccan-Spanish relations to the surge of illegal migration attempts on the borders of Ceuta and Melilla.
Spanish news outlets such as El Confidential Digital claimed that Morocco is letting migrants storm into Ceuta’s borders on purpose as a protest against the Queen’s visit.
Ceuta has been under Spanish occupation since the 16th century. Morocco claims the city along with the other Spanish occupied city of Melilla as an integral part of its national territory.
When King Juan Carlos made his first royal tour of the cities in November 2007, he stirred up a hornet’s nest, igniting Moroccan claims that the two enclaves be returned to their rightful claimant.
Madrid asserts that both territories are integral parts of Spain and have the same status as the semi-autonomous regions on its mainland.