Two influential Spanish politicians rebuke Madrid’s handling of crisis with Morocco
Ex-Spanish PM José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and former foreign minister José Manuel Garcia Margallo have slammed the management of Pedro Sanchez government of the diplomatic row with neighboring Morocco.
Tension mounted between the two countries over Madrid’s recent decision to host Polisario militia chief Brahim Ghali with an Algerian passport bearing a false name, Mohammed Ben Battouche, to enable him escape prosecution in Spain for crimes against humanity.
The relationship with Morocco is very important for Spain’s security and stability, said on Wednesday Mr. Zapatero on Canal Sur, expressing support to the autonomy plan offered by Morocco for a lasting resolution of the Sahara conflict.
He called for restoring trust between the two countries, describing the North African Kingdom as “a serious and loyal partner” of Spain in the fight against terrorism and illegal migration.
For his part, José Manuel Garcia Margallo called on Spain to rethink its position on the Sahara in light of new geopolitical order after the recognition by the United States of Morocco’ full sovereignty over its entire Saharan territory.
He warned against the risks of creating a pseudo-state in the region, recalling the kidnapping in the Polisario-controlled Tindouf camps of two Spanish nationals and an Italian working for a humanitarian NGO.
Mr. Margallo called on the government of Pedro Sanchez to keep pace with the international geopolitical changes, noting the “self-determination referendum” option has become obsolete and disappeared from UN Security Council resolutions since 2003.
Morocco has regained its seat at the African Union, while several Arab and African countries have opened consulates in the Saharan cities of Dakhla and Laayoune, he said.
“When circumstances change, we must change. We have to adapt to the new context,” underlined the former Spanish top diplomat.