Tags : USA, Spain, Western Sahara, Morocco, PSOE, Pedro Sanchez,
The changes in the global scenario, exacerbated by the war in Ukraine and the geopolitical interests of the United States and the European Union , have led Pedro Sánchez and Minister José Manuel Albares to position themselves in favor of a Moroccan proposal for the Sahara. Western that is neither credible nor respects international law.
This shift, which affects the relationship with Algeria , has been consummated without prior debate or due transparency and against the position adopted by the PSOE in its electoral program and in the Resolutions of its 40th Congress. I did express it in 2022 before the Socialist Group of Congress and in various articles. The collective “Socialists for the Sahara” has also published a successful manifesto.
The pronouncements of Donald Trump (December 2020) and then Joe Biden in favor of the Moroccan thesis, the support of the monarchies of the Persian Gulf, the maneuvers and blackmail of the Moroccan king -with his Spanish lobby-, the pressure towards Europe from the mafias with illegal emigration trafficking, the influence of China and Russia in Africa and the advance of jihadist terrorism in the Sahel region have forced and narrowed, even more, the discourse and turn of Spain. In this way, the UN resolutions on decolonization and the right to self-determination of the Saharawi People, which have been turned into dead paper for years, are sacrificed.
A summit accompanied by another contempt from Mohamed VI to Spain, which has not served to guarantee the security and territorial integrity of Ceuta and Melilla or respect for the continental shelf of the Canary Islands
This definitive change in Spain, after years of lukewarmness, has been evidenced in the last Spanish-Moroccan summit in Rabat, which has included in a joint declaration, full of rhetoric , the weakness of the Spanish position and the concessions of political and economic support to the Moroccan regime. A summit, accompanied by another contempt from Mohamed VI to Spain, which has not served to guarantee the security and territorial integrity of Ceuta and Melilla or respect for the continental shelf of the Canary Islands.
Morocco’s non-credible offer in favor of a status of real autonomy and freedom for the occupied territories in the former Spanish colony-province of the Sahara, presented at the UN in 2007, has not even materialized. The Polisario Front also presented its plan in April 2007.
Morocco’s non-credible offer in favor of a status of real autonomy and freedom for the occupied territories has not even materialized
But let’s go back to the Sahara conflict. Nearly 47 years have passed since the illegal invasion of the territory of Western Sahara by Morocco and the flight of the army of Franco and Juan Carlos I. In that time, there has been no progress in a political solution. On the contrary, they have all been setbacks.
The humanitarian situation of hardship in the Saharawi refugee camps in Tindouf and the Moroccan repression in the former Sahara worsened, political support and international solidarity for the cause decreased and different events have reinforced the strategic role of Morocco and its role as gendarme from the gate to Europe. The EU pays the bill to Morocco and Spain bows its head.
In any case, the most recent UN resolution on the problem must be respected , number 2602 of October 29, 2021 , which sets the lines of action. The UN « commits itself to helping to reach a just, lasting and acceptable political solution for both parties, based on compromise, and that provides for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara within the framework of provisions in accordance with the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations”. The UN stresses the importance of the parties committing to open a dialogue process on the respective proposals through the initiation of talks sponsored by the United Nations.
The EU pays the bill to Morocco and Spain bows its head
Spain cannot fail to defend the interests of the Saharawi People. She has that legal and moral obligation . And it must facilitate the resumption of a political process of contacts between Morocco and the Polisario, in preparation for the negotiation phase. The objective is to reach a peace accepted by both parties on the basis of a well-defined proposal and with real guarantees of compliance. But in a planet of serious crises and uncertainties, the Saharawi cause is very small and for many a chimera.
The proposal for an autonomous status for the territory of the Sahara, like the option of independence, must be discussed and agreed between the parties to, in the end, proceed to a democratic referendum. As the beginning of the dialogue, respect for democratic freedoms and the safeguarding of human rights in the Sahara must be guaranteed.
For all these reasons, it is of vital importance that Spain exercise its diplomatic responsibility as the former administrator of the territory, grant Spanish nationality to the Sahrawis , increase humanitarian aid to the camps and guarantee the permanence of a MINURSO contingent.
*Odón Elorza is a former PSOE deputy for Guipúzcoa, former mayor of San Sebastían and a law graduate.
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