Sahara : US recognition has «added on the complexity of the situation», Sanchez government notes

Brahim Ghali’s hospitalization is not the only reason behind the crisis between Morocco and Spain. According to a recent report by the Spanish government, more reasons are behind the current crisis.

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In the middle of the diplomatic crisis with Rabat, the Department of National Security (DSN), headed by the Spanish government, presented on Thursday, May 27, to the House of Representatives, its 2020 report on the security challenges threatening the stability of the country. In the 390-page document, Morocco is cited several times.

On the Sahara issue, DSN notes that the United States’ recognition of Morocco’s sovereignty over the Sahara «worsens the complexity of the situation». A conclusion which explains the position of the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Arancha Gonzalez Laya, following the declaration of President Donald Trump of December 10.

On December 14, she wished that the Biden administration «would assess the situation, see how it will position itself, and work towards a just and lasting solution that does not depend on an alignment of a moment on one camp or the other».

Madrid wants Morocco to defend its borders

While on the Sahara issue, Spain distances itself from Morocco's position, it keeps asking for its support to deal with the fight against irregular immigration. Thus, DSN praises «the continued collaboration of Morocco which has made it possible to reduce migration flows by sea in the Mediterranean area». It noted that these efforts have forced networks which control this activity to «divert the flows towards the Atlantic coast, from Morocco to the Gambia, and towards Algeria».

The report asserts that «keeping arrivals in the Strait and Alboran Sea area within manageable levels is vital so as not to saturate reception centers» for migrants in the country. It also recommends continuing the «repatriation operations» of undocumented migrants from the Canary Islands to Morocco.

It is clear that it is only in the face of migration threats that Spain «recognizes the sovereignty» of Morocco over the Sahara by recommending the return of migrants who arrived in the Canary Islands from the coasts of the province. Sunday, Nasser Bourita clarified that «Morocco is neither the gendarme, nor the concierge of Europe» and if it accepts to cooperate against irregular immigration it is within the framework of a partnership and «the understanding of interests of each other».

On the eve of the presentation of this document to MPs, the former head of government José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero affirmed that «the relationship with Morocco is crucial for the stability of Spain». 

For his part, the former Minister of Defense, José Bono, acknowledged that «thanks to the Kingdom of Morocco, we have been able to arrest several radical Islamists and avoid the commission of terrorist attacks with deaths». The DSN report received the green light from the Sanchez government in March, well before the exodus of thousands of Moroccans to Ceuta.

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