The Spanish government is aware that Morocco will not tolerate any direct challenges to its territorial integrity and sovereignty over Western Sahara.
Rabat – The Spanish government has responded to a statement from the left-wing Podemos Party, who received a delegation from the Polisario Front last week, February 21.
During the meeting, Podemos members expressed commitment to continue “cooperating in helping people with disabilities and our solidarity with the Sahrawi people,” according to the statement from Spain’s Secretary of State for Social Rights.
In response to the meeting led between the left-wing party, part of the government coalition, and the breakaway group, Spanish Foreign Affairs Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya said that Spain maintains a clear position with regards to the Western Sahara conflict.
She emphasized that the Spanish government does not support Podemos’ position on Morocco’s territorial integrity or sovereignty over the region.
In a set of tweets, Gonzalez Laya affirmed: “Spain does not recognize the [self-proclaimed Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic] SADR.”
The Spanish FM said that Spain will continue to support the UN-led political process to reach a peaceful solution, within the framework of resolutions of the UN Security Council.
The minister added that she received a call from her Moroccan counterpart, Nasser Bourita, about the meeting of the Secretary for Social Rights with a Polisario Front representative.
“I have clarified that the published statement does not reflect the position of the government. Spain’s position on Western Sahara has not changed, it is a state policy.”
Llamada de mi homólogo marroquí sobre entrevista del Secretario de Estado de Asts Sociales con representante de Frente Polisario. He aclarado que
– artículos publica2 no reflejan la posición del gobierno
– posición de 🇪🇸 sobre #SaharaOccidental no ha cambiado, es políca de Estado
— Arancha González (@AranchaGlezLaya) February 23, 2020
The meeting between Polisario and Podemos delegation comes amid vows from the Spanish coalition party to support the breakaway group’s claims for independence in Western Sahara.
The party has been also calling for the Spanish government to establish diplomatic relations with the self-styled SADR.
The Spanish government clarified that Podemos’ policy in no way reflects the constant position of the European country on the conflict, stressing the importance and exemplary nature of Madrid-Rabat relations.
The latest statement to express satisfaction with Morocco-Spanish relations comes just weeks after the visit of Laya to Morocco in January, in the wake of Morocco’s decision to adopt two bills allowing its country to delimit its maritime borders.
The Spanish government is well aware that any move against Morocco’s interests would not benefit Madrid, as the neighboring countries enter negotiations to avoid overlaps in the delimitation of the maritime borders in the waters between Morocco’s Western Sahara and Spain’s Canary Islands.
The question of the maritime limits is not the only precarious diplomatic negotiation Madrid and Rabat currently face, as the two capitals discuss the ramifications of Morocco’s decision to close the borders between Morocco and Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla.
Morocco and its European neighbor continue to express their commitment to maintaining stable strategic diplomatic relations despite challenges.