Rarely in Congress is there a total rejection of the Government that unites Vox and PP with the coalition partners, including United We Can. But it happened during the appearance of the Foreign Minister, José Manuel Albares, to defend the new framework of relations with Morocco that entails a historic change in Spain’s position regarding the Sahara that the head of diplomacy denies. “You cannot speak of a 180-degree turn,” said Albares, who at the end of his appearance admitted a certain variation, acknowledging that there is a “deepening” in previous positions to end up speaking of a “change of position” in response to a question about whether he had been transferred to the EU. “We are not informed of these changes in position, because they are not positions that are taken within the framework of the EU, Germany did not inform me.”
The PSOE resigns itself to the shift imposed by Sánchez regarding the Sahara
In any case, Albares maintains that the Government does not take sides with Morocco, despite supporting its proposal for autonomy for the Sahara – which the Polisario Front rejects – as the “most serious, realistic and credible” basis for solving a conflict “frozen for 46 years”. “The time has come to take action to contribute to that mutually acceptable option,” is the justification used by Albares. However, the parliamentary groups do not see it that way, which have warned him that Pedro Sánchez does not have the support of Congress in this new framework of relations with the Alawite kingdom.
Questions without answer
Moncloa had downloaded in the appearance of Albares in Congress all the explanations about the agreement with the Moroccan regime, but he has not given all the details that the journalists demanded on Tuesday and that the deputies demanded this Wednesday. It has not revealed whether Rabat leaked Sánchez’s letter behind the Government’s back – an extreme that several spokesmen have taken for granted, including that of the confederal group, Gerardo Pisarello -, whether Algeria was previously informed of the existing doubts or whether there is a response by letter from Morocco to Sánchez’s letter, the full content of which The Country has published, something that has also been criticized by the deputies who had previously requested the letter. The Foreign Minister has practically not left what he had said so far.
What he did want is to give a headline: he will travel to Rabat on April 1 to meet with his counterpart to reactivate normal relations. “On the agenda that we are outlining is the complete normalization of connections with Spain, including maritime ones, and Operation Crossing the Strait, which we will begin to design that same day,” he said in his initial speech. Morocco left the Spanish ports out of the last campaigns that represent a significant flow of people returning to the continent from Europe during the holiday periods.
As Pedro Sánchez did this morning, Albares has emphasized the need to end the “tension” with the Alaouite kingdom, although he has assured that there has been a “continuous and discreet dialogue” at this time with which ” the safety of Spaniards has been guaranteed at all times”, despite the fact that the Government has justified the need for a new agreement to guarantee territorial integrity by suggesting that it has been in danger at some point. During these months, the Government has not issued any sign of concern in this regard and has boasted of Morocco’s collaboration in migratory control.
Albares has assured in Congress that it was a level of cooperation that should be reinforced. “Throughout these months there has only been one objective: the interests of the Spanish economy, security, reestablishing their human ties,” he said. “I have not heard criticism that a crisis has been closed, nor that a new roadmap is established. If someone thinks it is bad that the crisis has ended or that there is an alternative to a solid roadmap with Morocco, say so and explain what it would be”, he said after listening to criticism from all groups. “What he seeks is to put an end to the mafias that traffic in human beings, put migratory pressure on our two countries, with the human drama that has cost the lives of a thousand people on the Canarian route alone; reinforce stability between the two countries and this cannot be done without connectivity”, he added.
The minister has assured that Spain will continue to be “committed” to the Saharawi people through donations as it has been until now. “But it’s not enough [ha advertido]. We have to help open up a political perspective for a mutually acceptable solution to a situation that has been entrenched for five decades”. “Today there is a great opportunity for Spain to take an active position in its resolution”, he pointed out.
“He does not have the support of Congress”
The reproaches, however, have been widespread. “All the groups, and look that I have little in common with them, are saying reasonable and harsh things to you,” Vox spokesman Iván Espinosa de los Monteros told him. “Pedro Sánchez unilaterally hands over Western Sahara to Morocco”, added the leader of the extreme right, but the expression, on this occasion, is signed by the rest of the parties with practically no nuance. “To do state policy, I would have to count on the PP”, the conservative spokesperson Valentina Martínez has reprimanded him, to whom Albares has recalled that in the Perejil crisis José María Aznar did not notify the head of the opposition or appear in Congress. “To do government policy, you should have your partner. What he has done is not understandable, ”added the PP deputy.
And it is that United We Can has made clear its rejection of Sánchez’s decision. His spokeswoman in the Foreign Affairs Commission has lamented that the Government has trusted “naively in an autocrat” in relation to the king of Morocco. “With what authority is the self-determination of the Ukrainian people going to be defended, which includes the right to be independent when it is denied to the Saharawi people?” asked Pisarello, who considers that it has ended up “whitewashing the brutal occupation of the people Saharan”.
“Endorsing the Moroccan proposal is rejecting the possibility of holding a self-determination referendum for Western Sahara and endorsing the Moroccan occupation”, said ERC deputy Marta Rosique, who pointed out that “it would be interesting to hold a vote to see if Congress supports” the change regarding the Sahara. “In fact, if we did it by show of hands, you would not be able to go to Rabat on April 1,” she warned. Vox has taken the gauntlet and has proposed, with the PP, a modification of the agenda to include that vote, but the president of the commission, the socialist Pau Marí Klose, has rejected it.
“When you go to Rabat, remember that you do not have the backing of this Parliament”, the Basque Aitor Esteban, who has been one of the most belligerent against the turn of the Government, has sentenced, very angry.
Several groups have asked the minister about Algeria fearing that he will cut off the gas supply. In fact, the PNV spokesman has predicted that he will not close the tap but that “it will come out to a million”. “He is a solid, reliable, strategic partner, a reliable gas supplier who has always respected his contracts and that is why we hold him in such high esteem. There should be no doubt about the solidity of Algeria as a State, as a gas supplier”, Albares responded.