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Morocco, Spain postpone joint consultative meetings following Madrid's reception of Polisario leader

A Saharawi man holds up a Polisario Front flag in the Al-Mahbes area near Moroccan soldiers guarding the wall separating the Polisario controlled Western Sahara from Morocco on 3 February 2017. [STRINGER/AFP via Getty Images]
A Saharawi man holds up a Polisario Front flag near Moroccan soldiers guarding the wall separating the Polisario controlled Western Sahara from Morocco on 3 February 2017 [STRINGER/AFP via Getty Images]

Moroccan newspaper Hespress has revealed that scheduled virtual consultative meetings between Moroccan and Spanish government officials have been postponed.

The newspaper stated that the meetings, which come as part of preparations to hold a high-level joint summit between the two countries, were postponed following Spain's approval to host the Polisario Front leader. This resulted in a wave of indignation within Moroccan decision-making circles.

A Moroccan government official confirmed to the newspaper that a scheduled meeting between him and his Spanish counterpart had already been delayed.

These coordination meetings were launched between the Moroccan and Spanish governments a few weeks ago, following the controversy emanating from postponing the joint summit for several days. On 17 April, Morocco's Minister of Industry, Trade and Green and Digital Economy Moulay Hafid Elalamy held a meeting with the Spanish minister of trade, industry and tourism on the prospects for strengthening and developing the partnership between Morocco and Spain in the commercial and industrial fields.

According to the schedule previously published by Spanish news agency Europa Press, Spain's ministers of education and environment were expected to hold virtual meetings with their Moroccan counterparts on 28 and 29 April in preparation for the joint summit.

The schedule for the meetings also included a telephone appointment between the Moroccan agriculture minister and his Spanish counterpart on 5 May, and then another between the Spanish minister of culture and his Moroccan counterpart, along with the head of the National Foundation of Museums.

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