With the cancellation of the meeting of the board of directors of the Three Cultures of the Mediterranean Foundation that was scheduled to be held in Rabat on June 30, suspicions return that point to a new open front in Morocco’s relations with Spain after the return to the normality due to the change of position in favor of Morocco of the Spanish Government on Western Sahara. The Three Cultures of the Mediterranean Foundation, promoted by the two countries and created in 1998 under the patronage of the former King of Spain, Juan Carlos I, and the father of the current one, Hassan II, aims to promote dialogue, peace and tolerance between the peoples and cultures of the Mediterranean, as well as dialogue between the Muslim, Jewish and Christian religions.
According to sources from the Spanish delegation consulted by EL MUNDO, this cancellation is due to problems adjusting the agendas of the foundation’s representatives, “as on other occasions.”
However, the Moroccan digital newspaper Le 360, close to the royal palace, published that the suspension of the meeting is due to Rabat’s discomfort over what they consider to be the hostile position of the PP against the decision of the Spanish Government to endorse the autonomy plan for the Western Sahara that Morocco presented in 2008 to the United Nations General Assembly and that Pedro Sánchez now sees as “a reasonable solution”.
The media assures in the publication that “the joint declaration [signed by Morocco and Spain recently] is an indivisible whole. And the essential axis is that Spain considers the Moroccan autonomy initiative, presented in 2008, as the most serious, realistic and credible for the resolution of this dispute” And he adds: “We cannot, therefore, agree to hold a meeting knowing that one of its main actors is openly opposed to the new dynamic of bilateral relations between the two countries, based on Spanish support for the Moroccan option of autonomy. It is a question of coherence”, pointing to the position, for them hostile, of the Spanish PP.
The Three Cultures Foundation’s co-presidents are the Acting Presidency Councilor and spokesperson for the Junta de Andalucía, Elias Bendodo, and the Alaouí royal councilor André Azoulay. And the presence there of a senior official from Genoa now with Feijóo is also alluded to in the Moroccan publication as the cause of the veto.
The change in Spain’s foreign policy, which Morocco was in charge of announcing by revealing the letter sent by Sánchez from Moncloa, has served for the PP to attack Sánchez’s “unilateral policy”, reproaching the Prime Minister for turning the Sahara “because sovereignty resides in Parliament, not in the president”. In the same note, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, considered “inadmissible” the turn that the President of the Government has given on Western Sahara.
The new leader of the PP met, within the framework of a meeting of the European PP, with the Moroccan Prime Minister, Aziz Akhannouch, in Rotterdam on May 31. There he expressed the commitment to maintain good neighborly relations and loyalty with Morocco and his will to carry out a reliable foreign policy. Furthermore, he assured Aziz Akhannouch that he would not deceive him or his country. “Everything I am going to undertake, I am going to try to do by consensus so that it is sustainable. We can agree on many things within the framework of the UN resolutions.” And that appeal to the UN, which defends a referendum as the best solution, is what would have bothered Rabat. However, the Moroccan prime minister issued an official invitation for the president of the Popular Party to visit the neighboring country in the near future.
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