Felipe VI yesterday sent a message of congratulations to King Mohammed VI of Morocco on the 22nd anniversary of his accession to the throne, according to the Moroccan news agency MAP.
In what is the first communication between His Majesty the King and Mohammed VI since the bilateral crisis broke out last April, Don Felipe conveys to the Alaouite sovereign, on his own behalf and on behalf of the Spanish government and people, “best wishes for health and prosperity to the much-loved friendly Moroccan people”.
In the text, released by the MAP, the Spanish monarch refers to the “deep friendship we share” and expresses his “most sincere congratulations and best wishes for the well-being of the sovereign and the Royal Family” of Morocco.
Madrid and Rabat have been in diplomatic conflict since April when Spain agreed to admit Polisario Front leader Brahim Ghali to a hospital in Logroño for treatment for COVID-19. The operation was carried out in secret, but it was immediately revealed and Morocco reacted by allowing an avalanche of thousands of irregular migrants to enter Ceuta on 17 and 18 May.
In addition, the Moroccan government recalled its ambassador in Madrid, Karima Benayich, for consultations. Spain did not respond with a similar measure and kept its ambassador, Ricardo Díez-Hochleitner, in Rabat, trying not to raise the tension any further.
Morocco has remained very distant, especially while Arancha González Laya, who is considered the main person responsible for Ghali’s reception, was in charge of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Recently, the new foreign affairs minister, José Manuel Albares, insisted that negotiations with the Moroccan authorities were being carried out discreetly and cautiously, in an attempt to redirect bilateral relations.