The Spanish senate agreed that Spain should become more involved based on its “historical and affective link” to Western Sahara
Rabat – Spain aims to become more involved in the Western Sahara issue and push for a UN-brokered peace agreement. All parties in Spain’s senate, except the overtly anti-Moroccan Vox party, voted in favor of a motion on Wednesday that asked the government to become more involved.
Spain’s senate reached an agreement that established that the Iberian nation “has a historical and affective link in the political conflict in Western Sahara.”
Based on that assertion, the senate has asked Spain’s government to “actively support and facilitate” the process of finding a resolution to the Western Sahara conflict.
The move marks a significant change in the country’s diplomatic stance. Spain previously had taken a neutral position in regard to its former colony in Western Sahara.
Spain’s senate tasked the government to use all international, multilateral, and supranational bodies available to push for a solution. The senate agreement calls for Spanish diplomacy “in the UN, in the EU, and in the rest of international organizations.”
The senate did not specify what solution its diplomats should pursue however. The agreement calls for “a political solution in accordance with International Law and UN resolutions.” Both Morocco and Polisario would argue their favored solution fits within this framework.
One indication of Spain’s preference could be revealed by the timing of the senate decision. Morocco chose to take a stand against another EU member state earlier in March, when it ended communication with the embassy of Germany.
While the details of the disagreement which triggered the move remain a topic for speculation, many saw the diplomatic act as evidence Morocco is willing to test the resolve of its trade partners.
For Morocco, it appears the time of diplomatic niceties is over as it asks its allies and partners to help create a new diplomatic consensus that could overturn the current political impasse. The US was the first to “pick a side” and is now benefiting from this move by signing a variety of trade and development deals in Western Sahara.
For many in the EU, resolving the Western Sahara conflict means finally being able to sign economic agreements with Morocco that include the southern provinces. With the US taking the lead, countries like Spain have an active stake in realizing peace in Western Sahara.