After Spain’s support for Morocco’s autonomy proposal to settle the regional dispute over the Sahara, the Spanish press is worried about the occupied cities of Sebta and Melilla. Articles about them flourish every day and regret that Spain has “gained nothing” in return.
With the approach of the visit of the head of Spanish diplomacy, José Manuel Albares to Rabat, scheduled for April 1 just before the month of Ramadan, the Spanish press fulminates and continues to publish interviews, articles and opinion pieces based on the history of the Spanish colonization of these two Moroccan cities.
Articles documented in historical videos, sometimes resuming the era of Mohammed V, sometimes that of Hassan II, and going even further, while praising Spanish colonialism in Morocco, are published on all Spanish media.
A common theme marks these articles, and it is a question of saying that Spain has “gained nothing” in return for its support for Morocco’s proposal for the settlement of the conflict around the Sahara, and of implying that Spain should have (or should during the next visits of Spanish officials to Rabat) negotiate so that Morocco never claims its territories still occupied by Spain in the north of the kingdom.
“Spain gives impetus to Morocco in its permanent green march”, headlines the Spanish site ABC which adds that after the “gesture” of the head of the Spanish government Pedro Sanchez, “Spain’s compensation” would be “months maybe a few years of good neighborliness with measured declarations” on the one hand and others.
“But Ceuta and Melilla continue to be other bones of contention. Morocco will never give up claiming its sovereignty,” said the news site.
The newspaper, which is bathed in harsh criticism against Morocco, is also drowning in old and eccentric comparisons, mixing Abbas El Fassi with the former head of government El Otmani, Driss Lachgar or even a former “right arm of Bin Laden », asserting that all agree to call to address the subject of the return of the two occupied cities under Moroccan sovereignty.
“Melilla has been Spanish since the 15th century, after it was conquered by Pedro de Estopiñán, of Jerez, and Ceuta since the 16th century, when it was inherited by Philip II as King of Portugal, a century before the Alaouite dynasty”, attempts to justify the Iberian media.
And to continue that “as one wave will follow the other as long as the moon and the sea exist, Ceuta and Melilla will follow the Sahara in the permanent green march as long as Spain and Morocco exist”.
For its part, the site El Independiente has published an interview with the former correspondent of the Spanish press agency Efe in Rabat, in which he analyzes relations between the two countries.
According to him, after Spain’s recent asserted position on the Sahara, “in exchange, Morocco has not asserted its claim to Ceuta and Melilla” (Sebta and Melilla), but he believes that this does not say that Rabat has changed its position on the subject.
“I have not seen so far from Morocco that there has been a solemn declaration in which it undertakes to respect the sovereignty (supposedly of Spain over the two occupied cities, editor’s note) and whoever knows a little Morocco knows that this will never happen. For Morocco, it is a constant in its policies, Ceuta and Melilla. They are simply part of Moroccan territory and they have always said so and they have never deviated from one line of this principle”, affirmed the Spanish journalist, who wonders what attitude Morocco will have only in “short and medium terms” concerning the two occupied towns.
If the Spanish press is trying to create a debate on the status of the towns of Sebta and Melilla after Spain’s change of position on the subject of the Moroccan Sahara (formerly occupied by Spain), it is above all because there has a real fear that Morocco will claim after that, that the two cities be returned to it.
This is certainly also the reason why Spain has always maintained an ambiguous position on the subject of the Sahara, where it had one foot with Morocco and another with the separatists. This materialized with her ambitions to snatch the maximum economic benefits from Morocco with this tool of pressure she used.
At the same time Spain offered other advantages to any Sahrawi who would rise up against Morocco with motivations such as refugee status, Spanish nationality, summer holidays paid by the taxpayer for young Sahrawis of Tindouf, millions of euros sent indirectly to the Polisario through “humanitarian aid” to the Tindouf camps – which have nevertheless remained in the state for more than 45 years…
If the press regrets that Spain gave its approval to the Moroccan plan “for free”, what it does not say is that Madrid was not in a position to negotiate in the face of its actions and its blackmail, namely the illegal reception and behind Morocco’s back of its number one enemy, the leader of the Polisario, last April who provoked the crisis, and moreover blackmail by bringing in the European Union to put pressure on Morocco after the migratory event that followed.
Morocco has repeated it, it is only responsible for the security of its own borders and is not a minion of Spain to protect its territory too. If he does it, it’s because there is a cooperative relationship based on respect, but if the foundations of this relationship are broken, you shouldn’t blame him if he goes back on his commitments.
“We cannot plot in the evening behind the back of the partner and ask him the next day to be loyal on the priorities of Spain and Europe”, summed up the Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nasser Bourita, in May last, after Spain tried to blackmail Morocco into involving the European Union.
“Morocco is satisfied with its relationship with the EU. Morocco has no problem with the EU. Morocco has a problem with Spain and in relation to a particular subject created by Spain without involving Europe. And I think it’s up to Spain to solve this problem”, he added, considering that it was Spain that created the bilateral crisis and it is she who must solve it.
In addition to these two elements, another point was against Spain in this affair, it is that the two cities of Sebta and Melilla, depend almost entirely on Morocco, for electricity, fruits and vegetables, and its economy. generally. Since Rabat decided to close the taps, the two cities have been living a waking nightmare.
On March 23, the head of government, Pedro Sanchez, moreover revealed that the agreement concluded with Morocco put an end to an “absolutely unsustainable crisis with a strategic country” and guarantees the territorial integrity of the two countries and throws the foundations for a “much stronger” relationship in terms of security, mobility and immigration.
“This is state policy and when we talk about state policy, we are talking about all of us contributing to the stability and security of the autonomous city of Ceuta,” the president added from the city. where he moved.
“We are talking about a strategic relationship, a privileged partner for the stability and progress of our country,” recalled the socialist.