Relations between Rabat and Madrid are in good health, partly due to the decisions of the current government. Spain’s work on the humanitarian dossier in Western Sahara is key. As the figures to which Sánchez referred show, Spain is the leading donor of humanitarian aid to the Sahrawi people.
Likewise, he was categorical in the face of the speculation of interviewer Jordi Évole in relation to the qualification of “absolutist monarchy” when he referred to the Moroccan royalty. The president replied, “I am not going to go into this characterisation of the Moroccan monarchy that you are making,” he said. “I don’t agree with it. As president, I think it is important to make this clear,” he added.
The agreements between Spain and Morocco include both the economic and social concerns of both peoples. Trade agreements, the autonomy of Western Sahara, bilateral security cooperation in the fight against terrorism and the regularisation of immigration are the four legs of the table that hold the fruits of Spanish-Moroccan relations.
“Our relationship with the Kingdom of Morocco is strategic in every sense of the word”, Pedro Sánchez
One of the main attractions for the PSOE is the possibility of forming one of the most important geopolitical alliances with the Kingdom: building the gateway from Africa to Europe. Given that Algeria does not have good relations with its European neighbours, both Madrid and Rabat see how an improvement in relations and, above all, how a prolonged continuity of these relations could make the Spanish-Moroccan alliance one of the most important.
“Morocco is important for us in terms of trade, economic access to an important continent the size of Africa, security, the fight against terrorism and immigration policy without any doubt”, Sánchez stressed.
The Moroccan autonomy initiative is “the most serious, realistic and credible basis for the resolution of the conflict”, according to the Prime Minister. “I stand on a fait accompli: there has been no progress in the 50 years that this conflict has lasted,” he declared. “Therefore, if the international community, the United States and major European nations say that we must seek alternative ways to resolve this conflict within the parameters of UN resolutions and the UN Security Council, we must comply,” he concluded.
Muhammad al-Tayyar, a researcher in strategic and security studies, believed that “the Socialist Party blew up everything built by Polisario supporters”. According to him, Spanish parties “have been convinced of Morocco’s role and cannot be blackmailed with the Sahara dossier”, he said in an interview with The Arab Weekly. In order to reverse the change of position on the Sahara conflict, Algeria and the Polisario Front are demanding that Alberto Núñez Feijóo, leader of the Popular Party (PP), translate his refusal to back Pedro Sánchez’s proposal for Moroccan autonomy for the Sahara into “actions”.
The Independent also reported that ‘sources close to the Algerian regime are calling on Feijóo to take action to reverse a change of position on the Moroccan Sahara conflict’.
Alberto Núñez Feijóo, has resisted answering queries about the possible annulment of the Government’s decision to support the Moroccan Initiative for autonomy in the Sahara in view of the imminent elections next month and his refusal to reveal all his cards in the dossier concerning bilateral relations “Only Sánchez and Albares (Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation of the Kingdom of Spain) can say what we did”, he maintained last Monday in an interview with the Spanish radio station Cadena Ser.
“What my government has done is unknown to me”, Alberto Núñez Feijóo
Sánchez denied that the change in Spain’s position was related to a series of blackmails with strategic objectives on the part of Moroccan intelligence, as alluded to by opposition parties in Spain. He stressed that he has “full confidence that he will win the elections with the votes and seats necessary to form his majority, which will not be absolute”, and added that “we will have a progressive majority with Yolanda Díaz”.
Agustín Santos Maravir, Spanish ambassador to the UN (United Nations), is known for his support for Morocco on the Sahara issue and the autonomy proposal to resolve this dispute. Yolanda Diaz, candidate of the coalition party SUMAR, upset the Polisario and Algeria by putting Maravir in second place on the SUMAR list. The Polisario Front and its supporters in Spain, according to Spanish media reports, were “shocked” by this election.