Faced with a diplomatic crisis that continues between Morocco and Spain and a vice that is tightening in front of Madrid, the main author of the estrangement, Spanish voices are trying to get the Sahara out of the equation. However, this question is crucial in the future configuration of relations between the two partners.
“The Sahara should not be at the center of relations between Madrid and Rabat”said Castor Díaz Barrado, professor of public international law and international relations at the Rey Juan Carlos University in Madrid, in a column published in the Spanish newspaper La Razon.
The Sahara at the center of the Moroccan position
The political scientist believes that other issues should prevail in relations between the two neighboring countries, highlighting “migration cooperation, the fight against organized crime, close economic collaboration and cultural ties “.
Only today at this stage of the crisis, triggered by a gesture of enmity, perceived in Rabat as a betrayal – and rightly so -, Spain has not provided any tangible and logical explanation for its actions harming the interests Supremes of the Kingdom of Morocco. The Sahara is at the origin of the conflict between Madrid and Rabat, how can it not be the solution?
While relations between the two countries were in good shape, Spain triggered this diplomatic crisis last spring by secretly welcoming, giving him a false name, Brahim Ghali, the leader of the Sahrawi separatist faction of the Polisario, or , the enemy of the territorial integrity of Morocco.
Madrid was caught red-handed, by “coming to the aid” of the leader of the separatist movement supported by Algiers, and on ” request “of the Algerian regime. In other words, the Spanish government has conspired with the instigator of the conflict over the Sahara against Morocco, its strategic ally on all matters stated by the Spanish political scientist.
“The question of the Sahara should not be on the agenda of relations between the two neighboring states” added Castor Díaz Barrado, believing that the issues that must prevail between the two countries should concern “citizens of both countries and those who increasingly deepen the ties between the two countries”.
Only, for Morocco, the question of the Moroccan Sahara is the number one priority of its diplomacy, and is the only question that matters as much for Morocco as a nation, as Moroccans as a people, already testifies to the Green March. of 1975 which had brought together 350,000 volunteers at the time (the equivalent of the average birth rate in Morocco, editor’s note). If there’s one thing that can “deepen” the links between the two countries, it is indeed the question of the Sahara.
Minimizing the scale of the crisis, the academic asserts that the settlement of the open diplomatic crisis between the two countries will only engage Spain’s responsibility for the “restoration of necessary and useful relations for all citizens”, what Madrid would have already started.
And for Morocco, he advocates that the country should “to abandon the political positions he has maintained with regard to Spain”.
A modification of Spain’s position on the Sahara impossible?
“Everything indicates that Morocco is not willing to make things easier for itself and indicates as a capital requirement that our country substantially modify its assumptions regarding the Sahara issue”,acknowledged the academic. The last speeches of King Mohammed VI clearly demonstrate that Morocco will no longer back down to defend its Sahara and that it now demands relations of equals with its partners.
For Castor Diaz Barrado,“the authorities in Rabat know that this (the modification of Madrid’s position on the Sahara) is in no way possible and, moreover, it would not be advantageous for the interests of Spain either”.
This position remains difficult to understand, especially if we consider that Spain no longer has any interests in the Sahara since it is no longer the colonizing country, and if we want to believe in its good faith when it says that she wants to move the file forward and respond positively to the invitation for relations based on respect and mutual consideration with Morocco.
Spain as a former colonial power in the Sahara until 1975 (under Franco), withdrew from Moroccan territory following the Green March, and after King Hassan II listed it as a territory to be decolonized in the United Nations. The former colonist had also signed the Madrid Accords acknowledging the return of the Sahara to Moroccan sovereignty.
Moreover, at this stage of the Sahara issue, it is obvious that the Moroccan proposal for autonomy is the only solution capable of putting an end to the conflict. It is the most consensual, the most realistic and shows a lot of compromise by Morocco, to put an end to the status quo, and this, even Germany, which had a different position on the file, has formally recognized it.
Several countries of the international community recognize Morocco’s full sovereignty over the Sahara and new states have recognized it, such as the United States, and have acted upon it by opening consulates in the southern provinces. Spain is the only country that continues to fight and rage against the territorial integrity of Morocco while claiming to be an ally of Morocco on the issue.