Spain will not be left out of a hypothetical military operation against Russia if the US so decides, despite the misgivings that this option arouses in the Government’s minority partner. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, EU and Cooperation, José Manuel Albares, has assured that that moment has not yet come despite the increase in tension in the area and has defended giving “an opportunity to dialogue” that this same Friday has an important appointment with the meeting of the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, and the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, in Geneva. In any case, he has sent a message to the outside by assuring that Spain will be with the European and NATO allies, and also to the inside by reminding United We Can that it is Pedro Sánchez who sets foreign policy.
José Manuel Albares: “1,000 people were prevented from jumping the fence at Christmas and that would be very difficult without the collaboration of Morocco”
“We are going to give dialogue a chance and that is what Spain is pushing. If the dialogue does not bear fruit, of course, Spain will be together with its partners in the EU and NATO in dissuasion”, said the minister at an informative breakfast organized by Europa Press after the Ministry of Defense announced the dispatch of two ships to the Black Sea and is evaluating an aerial deployment of fighters in Bulgaria in a movement that was already scheduled but has been brought forward by the situation in the region. “Let’s not make political fiction, let’s not anticipate scenarios in which we are not,” Albares insisted, who in any case wants to present himself as a reliable partner for the US, where he was this week and held top-level meetings, including with Blinken.
“We cannot go back to times in which not even as a hypothesis the resolution of conflicts is through armed force. That is unacceptable”, acknowledged the head of Spanish diplomacy: “If there are differences, doubts – a State you may have doubts-, let’s dialogue, that is the scenario in which we are, for which we are committed. But dialogue is not negotiation: we cannot accept unacceptable things. Nobody can dictate to the EU or NATO who may or may not be their member. We cannot compromise on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of a state,” he explained about the situation in Ukraine.
Albares has charged against Vladimir Putin’s position regarding Ukraine: “Europe is progress and, therefore, it is looking to the future. Going back is going back to stages already overcome of walls and fences, going back to the stages of spheres of influence. It is unacceptable to go back to the times when one country dictated to another what security scheme it should have, dictated to another who the members of a given organization should be. This is not how peace has been achieved in Europe”.
The intention of the Sánchez Executive, largely at the NATO summit to be held in Madrid at the end of June, is to pressure the allies to reinforce the southern flank just as Spain supports the borders in the east. “If we talk about NATO 360º, we will have to reflect because the Mediterranean, beyond the Sahel and beyond sub-Saharan Africa are a source of opportunities, but there are also many challenges that we have to face”, said the minister, who He has referred to jihadism that “is very far from disappearing” or the “illicit trafficking” of arms, drugs or human beings that occurs in the Sahel.
Notice to United We Can: “Foreign action is the Sánchez brand”
Faced with criticism from Podemos -former vice president Pablo Iglesias has assured in an article on Ctxt that it would be a “mistake” for the Government to commit “with enthusiasm” to support military actions against Russia-, the Foreign Minister has warned that it is Pedro Sánchez the one that sets the diplomatic strategy: “Spain’s foreign action is set by the Prime Minister,” he said. Thus, it has reduced the position of Podemos, which criticized in a statement the sending of troops to the region, by ensuring that “the Government expresses itself every Tuesday through multiple decisions in the Council of Ministers. “That is what it shows the cohesion of the Government under the direction of the President of the Government. There is no discrepancy in that sense,” he settled.
Asked if the position of the minority shareholder makes him uncomfortable, he has also downplayed it: “It is the Prime Minister who sets foreign action and I feel very comfortable under the guidelines of the Prime Minister.”
The crisis with Russia will not affect Spain’s gas
The foreign minister considers, however, that the increase in tension with Russia will not have consequences for the supply of gas, at least for Spain. “Hopefully not. [ha contestado]. The Spanish energy supply is very little dependent on the east”. Albares has assured that the main supplier is Algeria and that this supply is “fully guaranteed”, despite the doubts that arose in September regarding the closure of one of the gas pipelines with the that emits gas due to the crisis with Morocco. Even so, he has said that it is a situation that is being “analyzed” within the EU and has recognized that “there are much more serious things at stake”: “It is the very essence of Europe that is at stake”.
Albares has insisted that relations with Morocco are being rebuilt, despite the fact that the ambassador has not yet returned after the crisis due to the presence of the leader of the Polisario Front to receive health treatment and that the government spokesman, Mustafa Baytas, claimed this Thursday “fidelity with respect to the national cause of the Sahara” to Spain to be able to advance in its diplomatic relations after the gestures of rapprochement shown this week by King Felipe VI.
The minister has insisted that he has an excellent relationship with his counterpart, Naser Burita, although he does not plan to travel to the neighboring country: “We speak very frequently, there are many people in Spain and Morocco who are working to build the relationship of the 21st century “. Despite the fact that the ambassador has not returned after being called for consultation, she has assured that diplomatic relations have been maintained and that there is a consular representation at the embassy in Madrid. “1,000 people were prevented from jumping the fence at Christmas and that would be very difficult without the collaboration of Morocco,” he recently stated in an interview with elDiario.es.
Precisely this Friday Albares will meet again with the UN envoy to Western Sahara, Staffan de Mistura, to whom Spain has provided means, such as an Armed Forces plane for his travels. “What Spain wants is to unblock that conflict, offer a horizon of hope to thousands of people who are waiting for it,” said the head of diplomacy, who avoids showing a specific position of the Government beyond the “clues” that they give UN resolutions: “We want a mutually acceptable political solution for the parties”.