RABAT - Morocco wants a new "partnership" to allow EU vessels to operate in waters it controls, Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita said on Wednesday.
The General Court of the European Union in 2021 annulled EU-Morocco trade deals covering farm products and fish because they were agreed without the consent of the people of Western Sahara.
Morocco regards Western Sahara as its own, while Algeria-backed Polisario rebels have sought to establish an independent state there.
The European commission appealed the ruling after it issued a joint statement with Morocco saying they would act to ensure continuity of bilateral trade.
A final verdict has not yet been made and the fisheries deal expires on July 19.
A Moroccan-EU joint fisheries committee will meet this week in Brussels to assess the four-year deal, Bourita told reporters in Rabat.
"Our initial assessment is positive...the Moroccan government is examining the future of this protocol with the EU," said Bourita.
"Is the partnership that consists in taking resources and paying afterwards a framework that Morocco wants?...This is an outdated partnership," he said.
Morocco "seeks a partnership of equals" that takes into consideration Morocco's own fisheries strategy as well as biological factors, he said.
Most of the 128 fishing vessels operating in Morocco-controlled waters under the deal are from Spain.
(Reporting by Ahmed Eljechtimi; editing by Jason Neely)