Rabat, April 16 (IANS/MAP) The Council of the European Union (EU) on Monday gave the green light for negotiations on a new deal between Morocco and the EU in the fisheries sector.

The current fisheries protocol between the two sides, which will expire in July, authorises European vessels to fish off the coast of Morocco in exchange for financial compensation. The decision to reach a new deal was approved by the 28 EU member states, the agency said.

The EU decision was in line with a joint statement by Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, on February 27.

The statement confirmed the commitment of both sides "to the strategic partnership between Morocco and the EU and their determination to preserve and strengthen it".

Negotiations between the two parties were expected to start soon.