Wide Angle

Sahara : Pedro Sanchez wants MINURSO to monitor human rights

To secure the support of Podemos during his inauguration as head of government, scheduled for September 23, Pedro Sanchez seems ready to sacrifice his good relations with Morocco. The Spanish politician believes that MINURSO must monitor human rights in the Sahara.

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This might be an important turning point in the relations of Morocco and Spain. Headed by Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) has a new proposition for the Western Sahara conflict. The Spanish ruling party brought back to the surface an old Polisario claim by stating : “The Spanish government supports the Western Sahara negotiations process, both at the UN and other levels, based on respecting international law”.

PSOE went further, stating that it supports “the extension of the MINURSO’s mandate to monitor human rights” in the region.

Using the Sahara issue to secure the support of Podemos

This announcement was part of a document entitled “Open Proposal for a Progressive Common Agenda” and made public by the Socialist party on Tuesday, September 3, in Madrid. It is a novelty compared to the line observed so far by the classic left parties but also by right-wing party Partido Popular (PP) when it was in power. Indeed, during the elections of April 28, they called for a "solution to the conflict that is fair and mutually accepted" between the parties.

First observation, the new proposal of the PSOE only resumes an election promise of the Unidos-Podemos program at the last election. A socialist concession directed at the 40 MPs that Podemos has in the Lower House while Pedro Sanchez will submit again, on September 23, to the test of the vote of confidence of the parliament regarding his project and his investiture to form a new government.

Drawing lessons from his failure last July 25, the leader of the PSOE appears willing to give up the ballast on a priority issue for the comrades of Pablo Iglesias, also very involved in the preparation of the campaigns of mobilization of the Polisario both in Spain and in the European Parliament.

Even during the worst crises between Rabat and Madrid, no ruling Spanish party has pledged to publicly support monitoring human rights in Western Sahara by the UN mission. For the record in 2013, at the Security Council, the Iberian neighbor, then led by the Partido Popular Mariano Rajoy, had distanced itself from the draft resolution of the Obama administration to expand the prerogatives of MINURSO.

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