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Morocco: 'Our country presents civilisational complex for Spain'

Spanish policemen stand next to migrants waiting to cross the border back to Morocco at the Spanish enclave of Ceuta on 20 May 2021 [ANTONIO SEMPERE/AFP/Getty Images]
Spanish policemen stand next to migrants waiting to cross the border back to Morocco at the Spanish enclave of Ceuta on 20 May 2021 [ANTONIO SEMPERE/AFP/Getty Images]

Morocco constitutes a "civilisational complex" for Spain, the Speaker of the North African state's House of Representatives, Habib El-Malki, said yesterday.

El-Maliki said Spain suffers "a civilisational complex vis-à-vis the Kingdom of Morocco and has not been able to cope with it to date."

He added that a number of historical cities in southern Spain "feed on the Arab and Islamic cultural heritage, through tourism."

"With great regret, Spain is still living in the era of the Crusades, not in the 21st century," El-Maliki said.

He explained that Spain's "provocative position" in hosting the Polisario Front leader earlier this year, did not help overcome the crisis between the two countries or restore peace.

In April, Madrid received the leader of the Polisario Front Brahim Ghali, who used a fake identity to enter the country, allegedly to receive treatment for the coronavirus. This triggered a crisis between Spain and Morocco.

In mid-May, about 8,000 irregular migrants, including minors, flocked from Morocco to the Spanish enclave of Ceuta, which Spanish and European officials saw as an attempt made by Rabat to exert pressure on Madrid to force Ghali out. In early June the Polisario leader arrived in Algeria after Spain's Supreme Court rejected his custody request.

READ: 344 migrants rescued off Morocco coast

Morocco has been in conflict with the Algeria-backed separatist Polisario group over the Western Sahara since 1975, after the Spanish occupation ended. It turned into an armed confrontation that lasted until 1991 and ended with the signing of a ceasefire agreement.

Rabat insists on its right to govern the region, but proposed autonomous rule in the Western Sahara under its sovereignty, but the Polisario Front wants a referendum to let the people determine the future of the region. Algeria has been supporting the Front's proposal and hosts refugees from the region.

The 1991 ceasefire came to an end last year after Morocco resumed military operations in the El Guergarat crossing, a buffer zone between the territory claimed by the state of Morocco and the self-declared Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, which the Polisario said was a provocation.

By launching the operation, Morocco "seriously undermined not only the ceasefire and related military agreements but also any chances of achieving a peaceful and lasting solution to the decolonization question of the Western Sahara," Brahim Ghali, leader of the Polisario Front, said in a letter to the UN.

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