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Albares claims that the 'road map' with Morocco "is being a success and will continue"

Rule out that the increase in boat arrivals to the Canary Islands is related to the Alaouite kingdom.

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Albares claims that the 'road map' with Morocco "is being a success and will continue"

Rule out that the increase in boat arrivals to the Canary Islands is related to the Alaouite kingdom


The acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, José Manuel Albares, has expressed his chest about the "success" that the 'road map' agreed between Spain and Morocco is assuming and has assured that "it will continue", although without provide details on the process of opening customs in Ceuta and Melilla.

"A roadmap represents a process, a long-term commitment between both countries," Albares stressed in an interview with Europa Press when asked if the agreed schedule for the opening of the new customs in Ceuta and the reopening were being met. than that of Melilla, since only three test operations have been carried out between last February and May.

Without clarifying if the electoral advance and the impasse in the formation of the Government in Spain have disrupted the planned calendar and if new commercial expeditions can be expected soon, the minister has valued the good results that the new relationship started with Morocco in March 2022 as a result of the support for the Moroccan autonomy plan for the Sahara it is generating.

Thus, he has highlighted the decrease in the arrivals of immigrants by this route in comparison with Italy or Greece, "the trade figures that do not stop growing exponentially month after month" or "the extraordinary cooperation in the fight against terrorism". "All this shows us is that this roadmap has been a success and is being a success and will continue," she stressed.

Asked about the rise in arrivals of small boats in recent weeks to the Canary Islands, although he has admitted not knowing the latest updated data, the minister has defended that "it has nothing to do with Morocco but with an instability that is found more broadly in the Sahel strip and therefore comes from those coasts".

However, he stressed that "absolute sealing, the arrival of zero irregular immigrants is not possible" but if the increase in arrivals is compared by 305% in the case of Italy and 95% in the case of Greece , "one sees that Spain has very good partners and a very good partnership with West Africa as well."

Regarding the incipient instability in Senegal, the country of origin of a good number of the boats that are arriving in the Canary Islands or are being intercepted in recent weeks, Albares has admitted that it is "a strategic partner for Spain" located in "an area complicated" such as the Sahel and the Gulf of Guinea. "So what we have to do is support Senegal to maintain that stability and that democracy," he said.

Regarding Algeria, whose Foreign Minister said this week that the relationship remains "stalled", Albares avoids clarifying whether there is any type of contact to overcome the crisis and clings to the fact that "Spain wants to have a relationship with Algeria exactly as with the rest of its neighbors and with the rest of the countries of the Arab world based on friendship".

Albares participated this Thursday in Toledo in the informal meeting of EU foreign ministers, in which the Sahel, and in particular the situation in Niger after the coup d'état at the end of July, was one of the central issues on the agenda .

Regarding this issue, he has stressed that the legitimate government of Niger -whose president Mohamed Bazoum is still being held by the coups- has entrusted the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) with the search for solutions, hence the support of Spain and the Twenty-seven to the efforts of this organization.

According to the minister, who had the opportunity to speak in Toledo both with the president of the ECOWAS Commission and with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Niger, the regional organization wants to "exhaust" the diplomatic channel before opting for a military invasion, with the who has already threatened the coup junta.

"When they propose other solutions, we are of course open to studying them if we are asked for help from the EU," he stated, after being asked if the EU, and with it Spain, would support a military intervention that the Italian Foreign Minister, Antonio Tajani, would support. , has already predicted that it would be "a disaster" and would cause an avalanche of refugees.

Albares has agreed with the head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, who has raised the need for a thorough review of the EU's policy towards Africa. "You always have to reflect, you always have to try to draw lessons from what happens, from why it happens," he agreed.

However, in his opinion, the objectives that both the EU and the member states, including Spain, have maintained bilaterally, to support democracy, development, prosperity and legitimate and democratically elected governments "are the correct ones." . "That should not change," he pointed out.

The other issue addressed by the ministers in Toledo was Ukraine, whose Foreign Minister, Dimitro Kuleba, was present and took the opportunity to ask Spain for more tanks, more armored vehicles and more anti-aircraft systems. Albares has assured that the Government will analyze the requests "to the extent of our possibilities, of course, as we have always done jointly with our European partners."