Point 59, the last in the German-Moroccan joint declaration, is not really worth mentioning. There, German Foreign Minister Annalina Barbuk and her Moroccan colleague Nasser Bourita stressed the “friendly and constructive atmosphere for their meeting” Thursday in Rabat. However, this is no longer the case for relations between the two countries: in March 2021, Bourita called for an end to all forms of cooperation with German institutions, and later he returned the Kingdom’s ambassador from Berlin. The relationship with the North African country was at an all-time low.

With Barbuck’s journey, better relationships should be created again. “Dear Colleague Analina” Poretta greets her in German. “Your visit to Rabat today is very important.” The two sides agreed on a “multidimensional strategic dialogue.” The federal government sees great potential for cooperation on renewable energies, green hydrogen, trade and investment, but also on issues of security, regional stability and counter-terrorism. This divides the Moroccan side.

However, King Mohammed VI. It wasn’t until the weekend that he made clear what remained his central foreign policy issue: “The Sahara issue is the perspective through which Morocco sees its international environment.” Attitude to this is a “clear and simple criterion” for friendship with other countries. The case was – most likely – the reason for the severance of relations, even if it was not officially mentioned; There were other disturbances, too.

In December 2020, in exchange for Morocco’s recognition of Israel, then-US President Donald Trump acknowledged Rabat’s decades-old claim to Western Sahara. Germany, then a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, continued the UN-led process of negotiations to clarify the status of the former Spanish colony.

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Barbouk appeased Morocco shortly after taking office

Soon after taking office, Barbock succeeded in appeasing Morocco, after Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier had previously invited the king for an official visit. On the German Foreign Ministry’s website, it praised the country as a “key partner of the European Union and Germany in North Africa” ​​and recognized Morocco’s plan for autonomy for Western Sahara as an “important contribution”. Rabat thus ended the boycott without Germany changing its position significantly.

In Rabat, Barbock stressed Germany’s support for the UN-led process and Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura to find a just and mutually acceptable political solution. Bourita stressed that there is no contradiction between the autonomy plan presented by Morocco in 2007 and a major role of the United Nations, and that he welcomes Germany’s position. However, tensions remain high between Morocco and the pro-independence Polisario Front, which Algeria supports.

Barbock and Bureta also discussed the situation in Mali in detail. Morocco sees the Sahel region as becoming stable, which benefits not only the countries there, but all of North Africa, the Mediterranean and Europe. Germany’s role is important to the UN mission MINUSMA. Barbock is campaigning in the federal government for a broader view of the geo-strategic situation and the consequences of a possible German withdrawal, precisely because of the increased Russian presence. Thank you, you say thank you and combine this with the hope of picking up some Arabic words for lunch.

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