Madrid considered the Moroccan initiative as the most serious, realistic and credible basis for settling the dispute” related to the Moroccan Sahara, according to a statement by the Moroccan Royal Court.
Sanchez’s statements would melt the ice between the two neighbors, after relations had cooled diplomatically, due to Spain’s reception of the Polisario leader in April 2021, in order to get treatment, which at the time sparked tension between the two countries.
Commenting on the issue, observers affirmed that Morocco’s “wise” diplomacy succeeded in achieving a new strategic victory at the level of the Moroccan Sahara file.
Academic and political analyst, Mohamed Boden, said, “The message of the Spanish Prime Minister to King Mohammed VI is an indication that relations between the two countries have entered a positive, purposeful phase that could constitute a strategic turning point in a dynamic framework laden with encouraging factors.”
According to the spokesman, “Spain’s clear expression of its convictions regarding the value of the autonomy initiative presented by the Kingdom of Morocco in 2007, as a logical and reference solution to the regional dispute over the Moroccan Sahara and the centrality of the territorial integrity of the two countries represents a new commitment of Spain with Morocco as a key strategic partner in North Africa.”
In an interview with Sky News Arabia, the head of the Atlas Center for Analysis of Political and Institutional Indicators added that Morocco will achieve many gains from the Spanish position, as Madrid has a historical role in the Moroccan Sahara file, and its position and its adaptation to Morocco’s interests remains remarkable and unprecedented.
Boden added that “the royal diplomacy has had a real impact on the Spanish position, and here it becomes clear that Morocco’s goal was not only to end the crisis with Spain, but to have a strategic change in its position regarding the Moroccan Sahara.”
The analyst went on to say that the Kingdom of Morocco has invested its international relations to achieve its strategic goals. The Spanish position destroyed the illusions of the Polisario, and the decision is consistent with the normative foundations of Security Council resolutions, especially Resolution 2602.
Boden concluded that “there is an explicit Spanish awareness of the position of the Kingdom of Morocco in the regional space and what the issue of the Moroccan Sahara represents for Moroccans and the extent of the close interrelationship between the two countries’ interests in the geostrategic, economic and security spheres.”
He added that “Madrid could not ignore the opportunities for joint cooperation between the two countries due to the nature of the Moroccan-Spanish bilateral relations, as one of the most important relations between a European country and an African country due to its momentum, rich history, and promising future for the two countries in the Euro-Mediterranean space.”
Spanish ‘smart’ decision
For his part, the former Spanish Prime Minister, Socialist Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, reiterated his support for the autonomy scheme proposed by Morocco to settle the dispute over the Moroccan Sahara, stressing that his country’s new position on this file is “politically intelligent.”
“The Sahara is a major issue for Morocco,” Zapatero said in an interview with Spanish radio station Cadena Ser. “It seems that opening the road and supporting autonomy is a smart decision from a political point of view.”
He pointed out that the Moroccan proposal is supported by a group of European countries, and should be studied at the United Nations level, in order to find a settlement to this long-standing dispute, recalling that he had always supported the autonomy proposal since its submission in 2007.
The former socialist leader clarified that Spain’s new position, expressed by Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, in a message sent by King Mohammed VI, opens the way to a new page in the existing cooperation between the two countries.
There is no doubt that turning the page on the dispute with Spain will bring relief in the economic circles of the two countries. In this regard, Professor of Economics at Higher Technical Education, Al-Hussein Al-Farouah, said that this historical position of Spain will push economic and trade relations towards further development within the framework of the strategic partnership between Morocco and the European Union, in which Spain is an important player.
The expert stated in a statement to “Sky News Arabia” that the commercial exchanges between Morocco and the European Union represented 53.7 percent of the total Moroccan trade exchanges in 2020 and it is expected to develop in the future after dispelling doubts and building confidence between the two parties, and turning the page of apathy in bilateral relations, especially after The unprecedented tension between the two countries, which followed Spain’s reception of the leader of the Polisario Front for treatment.
In the same context, journalist and political analyst Mustafa Tousa summarized his position by saying: “A lot has been said and written about the reasons that prompted the Spanish authorities to take this big and clear position. Some talked about the American influence on multiple levels on the Spaniards. Others also touched on the political consequences of the alliance. The trio signed between the Kingdom of Morocco, Israel and the United States.
Tousa adds that the reality is completely different, “because this Spanish transformation in the Sahara issue is the fruit of an effective Moroccan diplomacy that was able to formulate with strength, conviction and determination its principles and defend its rights.”
The journalist also continued, in a statement to “Sky News Arabia”, that this Spanish move represents “a qualitative acceleration of the wheel of history” and a “turning point” that rearranges the regional cards and changes the balance of power in this very sensitive region for the slightest political shock.
Tosa stressed that “this Spanish transformation is constructive and no less important than the American recognition of Morocco’s territorial integrity and sovereignty over its Sahara.”
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