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05RABAT2177 2005-10-20 12:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Rabat
Cable title:  

Moratinos Visits Morocco to Discuss Illegal

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1. (U) Summary: Spanish FM Miguel Angel Moratinos visited
Morocco October 11 to discuss illegal immigration with FM
Benaissa in the wake of the massive immigrant assaults on
Spanish border posts in northern Morocco (reftels). The
foreign ministers agreed to create a bilateral ad hoc
ministerial committee to facilitate joint action on
immigration and to convene a Euro-African ministerial
meeting inviting all of the countries involved in regional
migration issues. Despite the urgency of the situation,
Spanish officials thought the Euro-African ministerial would
likely not be held until 2006. End summary.

2. (U) Following massive assaults on the borders by sub-
Saharan Africans attempting to reach the two Spanish
enclaves of Ceuta and Mellila in northern Morocco, Spanish
FM Moratinos and his counterpart Mohamed Benaissa met in
Rabat October 11 to discuss the urgent migration issues
facing both countries. According to French daily Le Matin,
the Ministers declared that the question of illegal
immigration "is not a Spanish-Moroccan but an Afro-European
problem which relates to all Africa and Europe."
Consequently, Spain has asked the EU for $48 million to help
Morocco control its borders and combat human trafficking.
During the October 11 press conference following the
minister's joint meeting, Moratinos insisted that it is "an
important and urgent priority not only for Spain but for the
entire EU to design a very ambitious policy for cooperation
in tackling immigration."

3. (U) According to Moroccan official news agency Maghreb
Arab Press (MAP), Deputy FM Taieb Fassi Fihri asserted
following the ministers' meeting that "Morocco is taking its
responsibility in the fight against illegal immigration and
is determined to protect its borders," explaining that this
is despite the fact that Morocco has not received "one euro
or a single dollar" from Europe for keeping illegal migrants
away from its borders. Fassi Fihri added that "Morocco
alone cannot continue to tackle immigration"

4. (U) Moratinos and Benaissa agreed to set up an ad hoc
bilateral interdepartmental joint committee to tackle
migratory flow challenges faced by the two countries and the
region. According to the ministers' declaration, this
committee will meet as soon as possible to evaluate
migration in the region and to work out a strategy with
adequate and sustainable solutions. The same declaration
announced that the two countries will organize a Euro-
African ministerial conference to be held in Morocco that
will involve all the countries of "origin, transit and

5. (SBU) Following the meetings, Poloff spoke with Counselor
at the Spanish Embassy Jorge Cabezas who said that the
Spanish are "generally happy," with the collaboration
between the two countries thus far on the issue. He
estimated that the ad hoc ministerial meeting would likely
not occur until mid-November, noting that the decisions on
which ministries are to be involved will take some time.
Indicating that the GOS had already contacted both the
European Union and the African Union, Cabezas predicted that
the larger Euro-African ministerial convening all of the
countries involved would likely not take place at least
until early 2006.