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Rabat, Madrid Seek Increasing Security Cooperation Following Barcelona Attack | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Moroccan Interior Minister Abdelouafi Laftit (R) meets his Spanish counterpart Juan Ignacio Zoido Alvarez in Rabat on August 29, 2017. AFP

Rabat- Moroccan Interior Minister Abdelouafi Laftit highlighted that the Moroccan-Spanish security partnership is based on “shared responsibility and mutual trust.”

In a statement during a joint press conference in Rabat with his Spanish counterpart Juan Ignacio Zoido, Laftit underscored the solid cooperation between the two countries in security issues.

He pointed out the legal framework governing this cooperation with the signing of multiple agreements laying down mechanisms for joint action and sustained coordination.

“Such cooperation enabled the dismantling of terrorist cells operating in the two countries,” he said, adding that joint sea patrols are conducted between the navies of the two countries to fight drug trafficking.

Laftit also explained that he had “candid and serious” talks with the Spanish minister focusing on the threats posed by terrorism, illegal migration and organized crime.

He added that Zoido’s visit to Rabat is part of regular consultations between Morocco and Spain on issues of common interest.

Laftit, who reiterated Morocco’s condolences on the terrorists attacks that hit Barcelona lately, reaffirmed that a Moroccan team of security experts is contributing to investigations in Spain.

On the surge of radicalization among Moroccan immigrants, he noted that the second and third generation of Moroccans living in Europe need special attention to insulate them from extremist ideologies leading to terrorism.

In this context, he pointed to the need to oversee religious discourse in mosques and be wary of extremist imams.

For his part, Zoido said that no country is insulated from the threat of terrorism, and he stressed the need for international cooperation to counter this global threat.

In this regards, he commended Morocco for its “permanent, sincere and fruitful” cooperation with Spain.

“Morocco is a key partner for Spain in the fight against terrorism,” insisted Zoido, who pointed out to the need to gear efforts towards prevention and deradicalization.

He also underscored the pressing need of reinforcing the exchange of information between the two countries to counter terrorism and trans-border crime.

He added that between 2014 and 2017, Spanish and Moroccan security services led 12 joint operations, with the latest operation dating back to May where three ISIS terrorists were arrested, two in Barcelona and Salou and the third in Tangier.

“Thanks to the Spanish-Moroccan close security cooperation, 175 people suspected of violent extremism have been arrested during these operations,” he said.