The Canary Islands assume that the negotiation of the median is going to be “long and complex”

The general director for the Maghreb, the Mediterranean and the Middle East, Alberto Ucelay (l), and the Canarian councilor Julio Pérez (r) yesterday. / EFE

Relations with Rabat

Spain and Morocco set for tomorrow the first meeting of the working group, in whose preparation the waters of the Sahara were not discussed

About three months after the reestablishment of relations between Madrid and Rabat, formalized with the signing of a collaboration agreement at the beginning of April, both parties have set for tomorrow, June 29, the first meeting in this new stage of the
Spanish-Moroccan working group for the
delimitation of maritime spaces of the Atlantic façade, which has been frozen for fifteen years.

The Minister of Public Administrations, Justice and Security of the Canary Islands Government participated in the interministerial preparatory meeting that took place yesterday,
Julius Perezwho confirmed the state's will for the Canary Islands to be present in "most" of the bilateral meetings, although he could not specify whether he will participate in tomorrow's meeting because yesterday it had not yet been decided.

"I don't know if there will be our representation, because it is possible that this first meeting will only be between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a Moroccan delegate," he explained, "but the important thing is that
Canary Islands will be present during the whole process that begins now”, he added.

Pérez highly valued the reactivation of the working group that must delimit the median between the Canary Islands and the Moroccan coast, but warned that the negotiation entails enormous technical complexity and will be
"longer than it might seem"so he did not venture to set a deadline for reaching an agreement.

"You have to establish where the median runs, determine the baseline, you have to organize fishing activities and talk about environmental issues," said the counselor, "the reality is that there have been no contacts for years and now they resume, and in these things time is important but also
content is important», he added.

In yesterday's preparatory meeting, basically focused on establishing the working methodology, the Moroccan intention of appropriating the
Saharan waters. "Today we have not talked about that," Pérez assured, "I do not know if at some point we will have to talk about this matter, in any case our relationship is with Morocco and we are talking about delimiting the maritime spaces between Spain and Morocco," he added.

Similarly, the counselor recalled that there is a file in the international maritime commission of the UN pending resolution on the request of Spain to extend the
Continental platform to the west of the Canary Islands, which "in principle does not concern this working group either," he said.

At the meeting, Pérez raised the need for the special consideration of Canarian waters established in the
Statute of Autonomythat the participation of the Government of the Canary Islands in the negotiating delegation be maintained "with the intensity that is appropriate in each case" and that the points of view expressed by the representatives of the islands be heard.

Refering to
methodologyit was decided to take as a starting point the working groups that had already been set up when the negotiations were suspended fifteen years ago: the one on limits, the one on transport, security and the environment, and the one on fishing.

To give
assistance to the canarian government in the negotiations, President Torres has convened a working group made up of Julio Pérez himself, José Miguel Ruano, professor of Constitutional Law and lawyer for the Parliament of the Canary Islands, professor Eloy Ruiloba, from the University of Malaga, and professor José Mangas, from the University of Las Palmas, as well as Valeriano Díaz, head of the Coastal Service of the Ministry of Ecological Transition, the deputy minister of Legal Services Isabel Cubasy and the general technical secretary of the Ministry of Public Administrations, Justice and Security, Adele Altamirano.

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