The much-delayed state visit by the King and Queen of Spain to Morocco finally took place over the past two days.
King Felipe and Queen Letizia, accompanied by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, Josep Borrell, arrived in the African country on 13 February for a two-day state visit.
Upon their arrival in Rabat, they were greeted by King Mohammed of Morocco, Crown Prince Moulay Hassan, Prince Moulay Rachid, Princess Oum Kalthum Boufarès, and Princesses Lalla Meryem, Lalla Asma and Lalla Hasna. Various governmental representatives from both countries were also in attendance.
Next, the King of Spain and King of Morocco rode in an open top car through the streets of Rabat on their way to the Royal Palace where an official welcome ceremony took place. Afterwards, King Felipe and Queen Letizia joined the Moroccan Royal Family inside the Royal Palace for a meeting between the two monarchs.
A photo call with Spain’s King and Queen alongside the Moroccan Royal Family also took place. King Mohammed’s 11-year-old daughter, Princess Lalla Khadija was also present. While it is normal to see her older, 15-year-old brother at official events, the young royal makes rare appearances due to her age.
There were 11 bilateral agreements signed on the first day in the presence of both kings, Crown Prince Moulay Hassan and Prince Moulay Rachid.
A gala dinner was then held in the evening in honour of the King and Queen of Spain in the Royal Palace.
The following day, King Felipe met with the Head of Government of the Kingdom of Morocco, Saad Eddine El Othmani before the King and Queen Letizia travelled to the Mohamed V Mausoleum. There, the King laid a wreath in memory of former Moroccan Kings Mohamed V and Hassan II – the latter being the father of Morocco’s reigning monarch.
Next, King Felipe held a meeting with the President of the House of Representatives of the Kingdom of Morocco, Habib El Malki, as well as with the President of the Chamber of Counselors of the Kingdom of Morocco, Hakim Benchamach.
Queen Letizia and Princess Lalla Meryem – who now serves as the unofficial ‘First Lady’ of Morocco – also visited the “School of Second Chance” (Shemsy Circus School) where they met the children and watched a performance by the students of the school.
King Felipe and Queen Letizia later received in an audience a representation of Moroccan writers in the Spanish language at the Spanish Embassy before the King chaired the Morocco-Spain Economic Meeting in the afternoon at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Morocco.
During the meeting, His Majesty stressed, “We are very pleased that our bilateral relations have achieved in all areas to take a leap very relevant in recent times. Today our bilateral strategic partnership, which is based on mutual trust and respect, solidarity and complementarity, covers multiple sectors as highlighted during this visit by signing a number of important bilateral agreements and projects.”
He also spoke of migration and trafficking, “In terms of migration management, we have established a model of cooperation recognised by partners and neighbours, in an area of shared responsibility that we must continue to strengthen, with the support of the European Union, for which Spain has worked and will continue to work. ─ because there is a lot of suffering and the drama of loss of human lives generated by the mafias that traffic with human beings between our countries.”
“Morocco will always find in Spain a loyal and committed partner to support its progress in all areas. I ask you then to share efforts, conviction, enthusiasm and confidence to continue strengthening our economic relations, solidarity and social progress,” he concluded.
The state visit ended yesterday with an audience held by King Felipe and Queen Letizia for the Spanish community in Morocco.
Their Majesties previously visited Morocco in 2014 after the abdication of Felipe’s father, King Juan Carlos.
The state visit seemed to confirm the divorce of King Mohammed and Princess Lalla Salma. She was nowhere to be seen during the tour, and in previous visits by Felipe and Letizia, she escorted Spain’s Queen around the country. The pair seemed to get on well. Instead of Lalla Salma, the King’s sister, Lalla Meryem took up the role as ‘First Lady’ at her brother’s side.