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There is no question about this: the new Foreign Minister Annalena Barbach has filled her hands at the beginning of her term. Relations with Ukraine, Russia and China, for example. But even now she can do an important foreign policy conspiracy with one click.
Foreign policy can work like this: where there has been a diplomatic ice age for months, a good relationship is now in sight. With the click of a mouse, the Foreign Office and its new boss, Annalena Barbach, were able to record their first significant victory – shortly after she took office on December 8.
Tablecloths have long been cut between Germany and Morocco. But now a friendly wind is blowing from North Africa. What happened?
In March last year, the Moroccan government cut off “all contact” with the German embassy in Rafat due to “deep misunderstandings”, and in May it summoned its ambassador to Germany for consultation. The Moroccan Foreign Ministry at the time justified the move by “hostile actions” by Germany, thereby violating Moroccan interests.
Germany and Morocco: There are many points of contention
Background: Last December, then-US President Donald Trump recognized Morocco’s sovereignty over the Western Sahara, which was clearly criticized by the German government. There were many differences of opinion between Morocco and Berlin: only the United States’ recognition of Morocco’s rights to the Western Sahara caused dissatisfaction. The country reacted angrily before Berlin was expelled from the Libyan conference in January 2020.
In a nutshell: Symptoms indicate a storm. But now the new government has been able to at least fix this relationship. With a click of the mouse, the Federal Foreign Office updated it Website about Morocco: Under the heading “Bilateral Relations” Morocco is “an important link politically, culturally and economically between the North and the South” and the country as a “central partner of the European Union and Germany in North Africa”. .
Annalena Barbach: Relations with Morocco improved with the click of a mouse
Prior to that, it stated that “Germany seeks to support Morocco in the areas of democratic development, the rule of law, civil society and human rights.”
The government has not changed its position on the Western Sahara issue, but the change sparked a good tweet from Rabat: “These announcements allow renewed bilateral cooperation and normalize the work of the two countries’ diplomatic missions. Rabat and Berlin.”
And the “Magreb-Post” Annalena praised Barbach because she is now trying to “redefine relations with Germany.” Because: “There is no way to reduce tensions under the old federal government and SPD Foreign Minister Haiko Mass.”
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Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch And other human rights organizations harshly criticize Morocco, for example, trampling on women’s rights and freedom of expression. It is exciting how Baerbock will work with the country in the future.
The Foreign Ministry’s plot went unnoticed because there are now serious problems to deal with: Annalenna Barbach’s first visit to the United States on Wednesday (January 5) was obscured by the crisis between Russia and Ukraine. It is feared that Russian troops may invade the former Soviet republic. Here, too, Baerbock relies on diplomacy and clear words: “The most difficult times, the most important strong alliances – and we Europeans have no stronger partner than the United States,” Baerbock explained.
Before he left, he clarified: “Russian trade is marked with a clear price tag. The only way out of the crisis is dialogue.” This was repeatedly emphasized to the Russian government.