The Catalan Referendum : Rabat supports the position of Madrid

Unsurprisingly, Morocco supports the position of the Rajoy government hostile to the referendum in Catalonia. A position announced by Minister Mustapha El Khalfi.

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The Catalan independence referendum was discussed at the weekly press briefing of Mustapha El Khalfi held at the end of each council of government.

Interviewed by a journalist on the popular consultation project of the 1st of October, the Minister of Relations with the Parliament said in that «Morocco is with Spain» on this subject reports the agency EFE. Rabat's support to Madrid is in line with the «constants that govern Moroccan foreign policy,» he said.

The statements of the spokesman of the executive branch correspond perfectly with the tension that characterizes the relations between Rabat and Catalonia and this since the departure of Artur Mas of the presidency of the Generalitat registered on January 12, 2016.

Will Spain be grateful?

The arrival of Carles Puigdemont deeply affected the traditional proximity with Barcelona. Under the influence of small formations of the far left,  separatists and anti-Morocco, like ERC (Republican Left of Catalonia) and CUP (Candidature of Popular Unity, an ally of Podemos), Catalonia moved away from the policy line advocated by the predecessors of Puigdemont to the point of adopting in an official declaration the support to the movement of contestation of the Rif.

This logically ended up irritating Morocco to the point of postponing the visit of the president of the region to a later date. A break with a tradition, Rabat having always unrolled the red carpet to Jordi Pujol, Pasqual Maragall and Artur Mas.

A refusal by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nasser Bourita, during a press briefing with his Spanish counterpart to justify «close consultation with the Spanish authorities for the organization of this type of visits».

But will Spain really appreciate the Moroccan support for its position on the referendum in Catalonia ? Experience has shown that Madrid has shown itself versatile - at the mercy of governments - on issues that are vital to Morocco.

If today these officials are opposed to the rights of the Catalans to dispose of themselves, a year ago almost day to day, in the General Assembly King Felipe VI had ardently defended the «self-determination of the people of Western Sahara by virtue of provisions compatible with the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter».

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