By Siham Ali
Spain and Morocco signed eight co-operation agreements during a top-level Spanish visit, AFP reported.
Security was high on the agenda of the October 3rd meeting in Rabat. The accords also covered simplifying visa procedures, co-operation in tourism, sport, education and transport.
“I am convinced that these (bilateral) relations, which are getting stronger and stronger… will benefit” from the visit, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy was quoted as saying by the official MAP news agency after meeting King Mohammed VI in Marrakesh.
The Spanish premier earlier met his counterpart Abdelilah Benkirane in the capital, during a day of meetings between the ministers of foreign affairs, interior, justice, education, agriculture and energy.
At a joint press conference, at the end of a day, Rajoy and Benkirane underlined the need for “deep, solid and fruitful” bilateral relations.
Both sides discussed security threats weighing on the Sahel region and affecting its stability. These threats require horizontal and participatory responses given that the dangers concern not only neighbouring countries but affect the entire Mediterranean region.
In the Declaration of Rabat, Morocco and Spain called on the international community to opt for co-ordinated operations in all areas related to security, good governance and development in the region.
According to Moroccan Interior Minister Mohand Laenser, the two countries reiterated their commitment to contribute to peace, stability and development in the region and to work for the settlement of the regional crises and the preservation of international security under the principles of the UN Charter.
“The exemplary co-operation in the security field between Morocco and Spain will widen to France and Portugal,” Spanish Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz said.
He added that it was necessary to deepen bilateral ties in the fight against transnational organised crime, terrorism, mercenaries, piracy, drug trafficking, human trafficking, money laundering and other transnational crimes.
For his part, Moroccan Justice Minister Mustapha Ramid agreed to reactivate the joint committee for multidisciplinary analysis and evaluation of co-operation against terrorism and transnational organised crime.
Both sides agreed on the need to strengthen security co-operation through regular meetings of experts. They also stressed the importance of enhancing interfaith dialogue and supporting tolerance and respect for diversity as part of the United Nations Alliance of Civilisations.