The Moroccan ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Omar Zniber, recently clarified that his country’s position on the Spanish cities of Ceuta and Melilla remains unchanged.
Ambassador Zniber had been pressured by the UN Human Rights Council (OHCHR) to account for the deaths of up to thirty migrants at the hands of Moroccan authorities near the border fence of the Spanish city of Melilla. Zniber responded by saying that his government does not recognize the UN’s characterization of the fence as a Spanish-Moroccan border, because it does not recognize Melilla to be Spanish.
Media outlets favourable to the ruling coalition in Spain had claimed that PM Pedro Sanchez’s acquiescence to Moroccan pretensions over the Western Sahara was the result of a secret agreement whereby the North African kingdom would gradually accept Spain’s sovereignty over Ceuta and Melilla. The recent statement by the ambassador sits uneasy with this theory.
It is worth noting once more that, so far as the history of Spain’s African territories is concerned, they have belonged to European, peninsular polities since before Morocco existed, beginning with the Roman diocese of Hispania, and including the Visigothic Regnum Hispaniae.