The Underlying Causes of Morocco-Spain Maritime Dispute off the Atlantic Coast

This paper will examine the rationale behind Morocco’s decision to update its maritime laws, as well as the underlying causes that have prevented Rabat and Madrid from reaching a definitive agreement on the delimitation of their maritime borders off the Atlantic coast. Drawing on the scholarly literature on the topic, as well as on the provisions of international law, the paper will cross-examine the consistency of each country’s arguments with international law, especially regarding the method that should be applied in the delimitation process. It will also examine the prevailing argument among Spanish scholars regarding the legitimacy of each country’s claims and its consistency with international law, in light of the existence of a pending territorial dispute over the Sahara.