The diplomatic crisis between Morocco and Spain is bogged down and worries many in Spain, especially since its ambiguous position on the Sahara now risks encroaching on its economic relations with Morocco. Spanish intellectual circles do not understand Spain’s stubbornness, especially since the American recognition and the German change of position in support of Morocco.
Eight months after Spain’s faux pas which created the crisis of confidence between the two kingdoms, relations are still at a standstill. Statements that seem “positive” from politicians in Spain are far from reflecting the reality of the situation.
Today, if the contacts are not completely broken between Rabat and Madrid, the diplomatic crisis reaches its culminating point since the ambassador of Morocco, Karima Benyaich recalled last May is still in Rabat, which shows that the crisis does not is still not buried.
At this stage, only the step of severing diplomatic relations has not been taken. Morocco does not seem to accept Spain’s ambiguous position on the Sahara and its double game. The latter was highlighted during the reception of the leader of the Sahrawi separatist militia of the Polisario, Brahim Ghali last April.
The case cost the former head of Spanish diplomacy Arancha Laya Gonzales (replaced by José Luis Albares) his place, and the excuse advanced at the beginning by Spain, according to which, he was received for “humanitarian reasons “, turned out to be a decision of a “political” nature a few months later in court, according to the admission of the former minister herself.
Relations between the two neighboring countries are still weighed down by this affair, as evidenced by Morocco’s exclusion of Spain from its Marhaba operation last summer, and the choice of transit for Moroccans residing abroad via other European ports.
In addition, trade between the two countries is almost at a standstill, and carriers who transport Spanish products to Morocco are blocked by Moroccan customs. This turn of the screw made by Morocco, Spain has understood and feels it. Moreover, Madrid know that this is just a warning.
Morocco, which has made Spain its first trading partner because of the historical relations between the two countries and the geographical proximity, could obviously change course towards other European countries.
And it is this option that Spain fears so much, whose economy is largely based on its relations with its southern neighbor. The declarations of the Spanish representatives testified to their desire to re-establish “essential” relations with Morocco as quickly as possible, however, they did not say a word on the basic subject, the Sahara.
The President of the Spanish Government, Pedro Sánchez, recently met the Moroccan Foreign Minister, Nasser Bourita, in Brussels on the occasion of the last summit between the European Union and the African Union.
Sanchez took the opportunity to reiterate the importance of Moroccan-Spanish relations, “strategic” for Madrid. The two men agreed during their conversation, of “the need to progress in the strategic relationship” between the two countries.
“For Spain, Morocco is a strategic partner with whom we must walk together,” he said in January during a visit by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to Spain. These words, intervened while the king of Spain, Felipe VI, had tried to make gestures of appeasement towards Morocco.
The Spanish monarch had stressed the importance of political and historical ties between neighboring and allied countries. A few months earlier, King Mohammed VI, had declared in a speech his desire to “inaugurate an unprecedented stage” in relations between the two countries.
Later, the king had made it known in his speech on the occasion of the 46th anniversary of the Green March, that the parties which maintain vague or ambivalent positions on the Sahara file, will not be able to hope to engage with the Kingdom in any approach of an economic or commercial nature which would exclude the Moroccan Sahara.
While Morocco’s proposal for broad autonomy for the resolution of the conflict over the Sahara obtains broad international support and consensus, and has made the United States recognize Morocco’s sovereignty over its Sahara, and has changed Berlin’s position on the subject, by supporting Rabat’s proposal, Spain, for its part, continues to cling to a tiny hope of a referendum which has been eliminated from the United Nations process for several years given the impossibility of its implementation implemented, or another even more improbable option.
Faced with the diplomatic successes garnered by Morocco in the defense of its territorial integrity, and despite a threat from Algeria disguised by the Polisario separatist movement, the noose is tightening around Spain, which is also losing much-sought support from the States. -United.
“While Spain languishes, other countries are taking advantage of the Sahrawi dispute to move, either by making themselves look good from Morocco or by conditioning military aid,” wrote the Spanish news site Atalayar.
And to make a comparison with Germany, which also had a diplomatic crisis with Morocco, yet managed to overcome it. “We have the new German government which has approved the Moroccan position to resolve the Sahara conflict through autonomy under Moroccan control. Such a decision should interest Spain,” the site noted.
And to emphasize that the German government has points in common with the Spanish executive. “The coalition government of the same sign that governs in Spain has decided to try to improve relations with Morocco should be seen as an example for Madrid on how to begin to repair relations with Morocco”, believes Atalayar.
“In the end, a stable Sahara under Moroccan autonomy or under the supervision of the UN is better than an independent Sahara, but at the mercy of the terrorist threat, which is not so far from Western Sahara”, adds the media which somehow reveals one of the cards that Madrid would like to play against Morocco and which explains its reluctance to recognize the Moroccan proposal.
“If we fail to redirect our relationship with Morocco, it is very likely that Spain will be affected, either by new waves of migration via Ceuta, Melilla (occupied) and the Canary Islands, or by losing opportunities for ‘business and investment in the Alaouite country, key for the Spanish economy and the promotion of the Spain brand”, indicates the Spanish media underlining the urgency of settling the conflict with Morocco so as not to “lose the most close to Spain by its southern border”.