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Spain breaks its silence on the delimitation of Morocco’s Maritime borders

The Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the opposition parties have commented on Morocco’s plans to delimit its maritime borders. They did so on the same when Morocco’s House of Representative voted on two bills related to the topic.

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Morocco’s House of Representatives unanimously adopted two bills related to the delimitation of the country’s Atlantic maritime borders. The long-awaited decision is meant to set the limit of Morocco’s territorial waters and establish an exclusive and economic zone of 200 nautical miles off the Kingdom’s coast.

In Spain, which shares a maritime border in the Canary Islands area, the Moroccan parliament decision did not go unnoticed. On Wednesday, the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs broke its silence on the delimitation of Morocco’s maritime borders.

The Ministry said that the division of maritime areas involving two countries «can only be done, according to international laws, through mutual agreement», EFE reported on Wednesday. «Moroccans share the same position because in their bills they do not refer to the delimitation of these zones», the same source added.

The same position was shared by the Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya who wrote on her Twitter account that policies «shouldn’t be based on accomplished facts nor unilateral decisions».

Speaking before the Lower House, Wednesday, Morocco’s Foreign Affairs Minister Nasser Bourita said that «updating national laws is (...) an issue of international concern which could be subject to negotiations between the Kingdom and the States with bordering coasts, particularly neighboring Spain, which is considered as a strategic partner for Morocco thanks to the strong political, economic and historical bilateral relations».

The Spanish opposition and Morocco’s maritime borders

While the Spanish Foriegn Ministry’s reaction to the decision was very diplomatic, opposition in the country was triggered by that. A group of MPs from Spain’s People’s Party (PP) urged the Minister of Foreign Affairs to respond as soon as possible to their questions on the issue, which, according to it, «violates Spanish sovereignty over the waters of the Canary Islands».

«It is a violation of the international standards of the United Nations that seriously harms the Spanish interests and the economic interests» of the archipelago, said the party.

Vox, for its part, has asked the central government to «curb the offensive» of Morocco. The far-right party has also requested the appearance of Gonzalez in the Parliament. The spokesman for Vox in the Congress (Lower House) stressed, Wednesday, that the Sanchez government must defend Spanish sovereignty over territorial waters.

For its part Ciudadanos reproached the Minister of Foreign Affairs for her next trip to Rabat without having previously informed parliamentary groups of the discussions with Morocco on the delimitation of borders. The small center-right party with only 10 MPs accused the Sanchez government of «continuing to improvise» its foreign policy.

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