Pedro Sánchez has made a controversial decision by supporting the Moroccan plan for the autonomy of Western Sahara that causes stupor in the socialist bases and the leftist sectors and the PSOE takes pains to explain its position. In his internal argument, to which elDiario.es has had access, Ferraz denies that there has been a change of position regarding the former Spanish colony and justifies that the Government did not inform the rest of the parties, not even the minority partner of the coalition, in which “diplomacy requires time and a lot of discretion”.
The burial of the historical position of the PSOE on the Sahara to make way for the Green March
“There has been no change of position in relation to the Sahara,” says one of the epigraphs of the document, which ensures that Spain’s position is within the framework of the United Nations and the resolutions of the Security Council. As the foreign minister, José Manuel Albares, made express reference to resolution 2602, which does not use, like the previous ones, the term referendum, although it does speak of “self-determination” of the Saharawi people. “We are committed to the Charter of the United Nations and to the fact that the parties reach, within the United Nations, a mutually acceptable solution for both,” says the argument.
The Socialists maintain that the one established by Sánchez is the position that José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero marked in 2008. “In the declarations of the High-Level Meetings between Spain and Morocco in 2008, 2012 and 2015, it is expressly stated that Spain salutes the serious efforts and credible from Morocco”, the document states. However, in his letter to King Mohamed VI, Sánchez went a step further by assuring that the Moroccan proposal is the “most serious, realistic and credible” for the resolution of the conflict.
After that shift made by Zapatero, the electoral program of the PSOE continued to defend the right of self-determination of the Saharawi people. “We will promote the solution of the conflict in Western Sahara through compliance with the United Nations resolutions, which guarantee the right to self-determination of the Saharawi people. For this, we will work to reach a solution to the conflict that is fair, definitive, mutually acceptable and respectful of the principle of self-determination of the Saharawi people, as well as to promote the supervision of human rights in the region, favoring dialogue between Morocco and the Polisario Front, with the participation of Mauritania and Algeria, key partners of Spain, which the UN envoy for Western Sahara is promoting”, stated Sánchez’s program in 2019. The position was nuanced in the last Socialist Congress, when the crisis with Morocco had already broken out over the reception of the Polisario Front leader Brahim Galli. Then, they limited themselves to referring to the negotiation and the UN resolutions without expressly alluding to the right of self-determination of the Saharawi people and without any mention of the Polisario Front as an interlocutor.
The Socialists also defend themselves against the criticism that has come to the Government from the entire parliamentary arc: from United We Can, which distances itself from that decision, and the allies of the investiture to the PP. “No Spanish political force should be averse to an agreement with our Moroccan neighbor to guarantee territorial integrity, including Ceuta and Melilla, and the sovereignty of Spain and the stability, security and prosperity of both countries,” says the argument, which emphasizes the need to rebuild relations with the Alawite kingdom after the “worst crisis in decades.”
The PSOE also reiterates that the solution to the conflict must be “mutually acceptable” to the parties, although the Polisario Front and Algeria reject this position. Regarding Algeria, which has called its ambassador for consultations, as Albares did, Ferraz takes it for granted that there will be no reprisals regarding the supply of gas at a particularly delicate moment due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine: “Algeria is a strategic partner for Spain and for the European Union and has always been a very reliable gas supplier”.