Moncloa buries in opacity everything that has to do with the agreement reached with Morocco to restore diplomatic relations, which has led to a historic change in Spain’s position with respect to the Sahara and has stirred up the coalition’s minority partner, the allies parliamentarians of the Government and also the PP. “Diplomacy requires time and discretion. This is how the Government has worked out an agreement that is undoubtedly good news for Spain”, said the spokeswoman, Isabel Rodríguez, at the press conference after the Council of Ministers in which she was more tense than on other occasions.
Sánchez yields to the pressure of partners and opposition and will appear in Congress on the Sahara on the 30th
As did the Foreign Minister, José Manuel Albares, Rodríguez has pointed out that the new framework of relations with the Alawite kingdom makes it possible to guarantee “stability”, “territorial integrity” and “economic prosperity”. The Government thus suggests that the Spanish territorial integrity, specifically that of Ceuta and Melilla, has been threatened. But when asked when this breach of security occurred, they give a silent answer.
“At the moment in which we inaugurate a new stage, it is convenient to look forward and not backwards”, the spokesperson responded to the question of when there has been a threat to the Spanish territorial integrity. “We are satisfied with this agreement that means rebuilding diplomatic relations with a strategic neighbor”, added Rodríguez, for whom the fundamental thing is “to ensure the general interest” of the Spanish people. Outside the microphone, the journalists have also questioned the members of the Government for this questioning of the territorial integrity of Spain. “The president travels to Ceuta and Melilla tomorrow”, has been the response.
Pedro Sánchez will travel this Wednesday to the two autonomous cities, where he will meet with their respective presidents. It is a symbolic image given that it is not usual for it to occur because Morocco does not look favorably on the government presence in Ceuta and Melilla. The last time the president traveled to the autonomous cities was in May 2021, when the crisis with Morocco arose over the humanitarian reception of the Polisario Front leader, Brahim Galli, which was met by the massive entry of some 9,000 people into Ceuta . Although the president’s intention was to return, he had not done so until now.
Moncloa avoids giving any details about what he calls an “agreement” with Morocco, although it will not be formalized in any way that has to go through the Council of Ministers or Congress, according to government sources. “It is a new framework of relations”, they limit themselves to saying, “relations will be forged”, they express in reference to the visits of Albares in the coming weeks and of Pedro Sánchez later.
But they do not give any information on how this agreement was carried out, which they acknowledge has been prepared for “months” behind the minority partner’s back. The spokeswoman has not wanted to say if Sánchez has spoken with the second vice president, Yolanda Díaz, hiding behind the secrecy of the deliberations of the Council of Ministers. The leader of Unidas Podemos in the coalition, who is upset, like Podemos, with the decision, said they have a “pending” conversation. But Rodríguez has not answered whether they will speak soon. She has also refused to explain why the main opposition party was not informed.
When did Sánchez send the letter to King Mohamed VI that Morocco published on the new position regarding the Sahara? Will the Government make the full content of that letter public? Was King Felipe VI, who at the UN defended the right to self-determination of the Saharawi people, informed about the change? All these questions remain unanswered and the Government refers to the appearance of the Foreign Minister this Wednesday in Congress, despite the fact that the spokeswoman has assured that they have been giving explanations “from minute one”.
Sánchez has also had to give in and will go to Congress next week to render an account of the European Council in the coming days, of the response plan to the war that the Council of Ministers will approve on the 29th and of the “agreement” reached with Morocco. Moncloa denied yesterday night that the appearance was going to be on that date. What he has achieved is that the plenary is to talk about all these issues and not just the Sahara, as all the parliamentary groups wanted, which have pressed for him to appear this week. The PSOE has opposed and, as there is no unanimity, the proposal has declined.
Albares does not specify anything in the Senate
Albares has had the opportunity to render accounts in the parliamentary seat during the Senate control session, but he has balanced himself to avoid the matter in the face of criticism from the PP, PNV and ERC regarding the management of the agreement with Morocco and the turn in the Sahara position. “In all situations, the Government with the UN and international legality”, he has responded to the Basque senator Estefanía Beltrán, who has reproached him for the fact that the State has “once again succumbed to the blackmail of Morocco”, he has asked him why why the pact does not make public and why it does not act with the Sahara in the same way as with the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Calcada has been the response to the PP and ERC senators, Pilar Rojo and Jordi Martí, respectively. “Spain’s position is within the framework of the UN, with the UN charter, with the resolutions of the Security Council and with the Secretary General’s personal envoy for Western Sahara”, he replied. The conservative had rejected that a historic change would be announced by the Moroccan regime after being adopted “without consensus and by a single party.” “Don’t lie to us”, Rojo has snapped. The Republican had lamented that Spain had “left behind her neutrality as a decolonizing power” and “abandoned the Saharawi people to their fate.”
But it is that in the Government they maintain that there has been no turn. “Spain remains in the same position and that is that a mutually accepted solution must be sought within the framework of the United Nations”, said the spokeswoman before adding: “The autonomy plan can allow progress, it is the most realistic basis to achieve a solution, but it must be reached within the framework of the UN”. That is precisely the change. Until now, the most that governments had done was to salute Rabat’s “serious and credible efforts” in the search for a way out and, in times of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, he did say that the autonomy plan was a “positive” proposal. But what Sánchez did in the secret letter to the king of Morocco is to go one step further.
This step has also annoyed Algeria, which has called its ambassador for consultations. The Government also does not want to give many details about how this “strategic partner” was informed of the new position regarding the Sahara to rebuild the relationship with Morocco. However, in the Government they take it for granted that commercial relations will be maintained, especially those related to gas. “The relationship is excellent, let’s hope it continues to be like this with total normality”, expressed the vice president of Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera.