Spain's local government calls for separate talks over fisheries with Morocco
Morocco-Spain, Economics, 3/29/2001
Agriculture and fisheries minister of the local Spanish government of Andalusia (south), Paulino Plata, called on Tuesday the central government to conduct separate talks with Morocco over fisheries after a series of EU negotiations failed to reach any agreement.
The government of Andalusia wants direct negotiations between Spain and Morocco to reach an agreement that will be financed by the European Union, the Spanish local official told a press conference following a meeting with fishing professionals.
He also said Spain should develop a plan to diversify economic activities in regions whose economy is based on fishing.
Meanwhile, Morocco's ambassador in Madrid, Abdeslam Barak, explained Wednesday in a press conference that Morocco did not break all negotiations with the European Union but remains open to dialogue. He criticized Spanish press reports saying they do not reflect the reality of negotiations nor Morocco's stand.
After he recalled that the previous agreement which expired in November 1999 did not include any tacit provision on renewal, the diplomat said Morocco's sea resources are depleting and need to be protected. He went on that Morocco should not be held responsible for the failure of negotiations because its goal is to reach a fair agreement that takes into account mutual interests and social needs of Moroccans.
He also stressed that the sector accounts for 1.8% of the GDP in Morocco and 18% of exports. It employs 100,000 fishermen and around one million people live on fishing directly or indirectly.
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