Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez supports the conflict resolution proposed by Morocco on granting Western Sahara special autonomy status. The special autonomy explains that the citizens of Western Sahara can form a government and manage the regional budget independently even though strategic affairs are still regulated by the Moroccan government in the Moroccan capital, Rabat.
Reuters Launching, Sanchez emphasized that the Spanish government will always provide humanitarian assistance to the Sahrawi ethnic community who have inhabited the Western Sahara region. In addition, Sanchez stated, the Spanish government is ready to give full support to the various efforts that have been made by the UN Special Envoy for Western Sahara (United Nations Special Envoy for Western Sahara), Staffan de Mistura, who has helped Morocco expedite the process of granting the special autonomy which has been in progress since 2021.
“We (the Spanish government) are ready to fully support the work that has been carried out by the UN special envoy to realize the special autonomy status of Western Sahara, work which in our opinion is very crucial. As the main donor country, Spain will also continue to provide humanitarian assistance to all Sahrawi ethnic communities who are currently still taking refuge in the Tindouf refugee camp, Algeria, as has been done before.,” said Sanchez in his speech before the delegates of the 77th UN General Assembly at the UN Headquarters, New York City, New York, USA, on Thursday (2/22/2022) local time.
Sanchez explained in full the reasons that prompted him to change Spain’s foreign policy to support the special autonomy status of Western Sahara. Quote from AtalayarIn front of the delegation, the 50-year-old Spanish prime minister explained that he had read the peace proposals offered by Morocco. According to him, the conflict resolution contained in the proposal contains a strong, realistic and scientifically credible message, so that it is able to provide a just solution to resolve the war that occurred between the Moroccan army and the West Saharan independence separatist movement, the Polisario Front.Polisario Front) which has been going on since 1975 until now.
Spain supports granting special autonomy status to Western Sahara after taking a neutral position for many years
Still reported from Atalayar, in a letter written to the King of Morocco, Mohammed VI, on Thursday (17/3/2022), Sanchez said, Spain recognized the importance of Morocco to grant special autonomy status to Western Sahara. Prime minister of Spain who is also the Secretary General of the Party Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party The Minister appreciated the serious and credible step of the Moroccan king who has been in power since 1999 to allow the United Nations to send Mistura as the UN’s special envoy for Western Sahara, so that the multilateral institution can be involved in the conflict resolution discussion process.
Spain and Morocco have strong bilateral relations with similarities in cultural, historical, political, economic, and geographical proximity, so that they often have the same national interests. Thanks to these similarities, Sanchez considers that the welfare that has been obtained by Morocco will also make Spain obtain the same level of welfare, and vice versa.
Sanchez stressed that the Spanish government is strongly committed to continuing to establish and strengthen cooperation with Morocco in various sectors, in order to ensure stability and territorial integrity of the two countries.
“Our goal (Spain and Morocco) is to build new diplomatic relations based on the principles of openness and continuous communication, mutual respect for each other’s interests equally, and respect for all agreements signed by the two countries. We will not decide anything unilaterally without discussing it first, so that both countries can maintain all the positive things that have been achieved so far.,” Sanchez said in a written letter to the Moroccan king who comes from a descendant of the Alawite family.
Morocco issues royal decree on the special autonomous status of Western Sahara
Launching from France 24On Thursday (7/4/2022), the King of Morocco, Mohammed VI, issued a royal decree on special autonomy for the Western Sahara region which is supported by Spain, the United States and the European Union. The various provisions contained in the decree took the final draft of the peace proposal which had been submitted to the United Nations in April 2007.
The special autonomy status is the Moroccan government’s response to the UN Security Council and the international community demanding a clear and definitive political status for the Western Sahara region which has been echoed since 2007. In a speech in November 2021, the King of Morocco, Mohammed VI, emphasized that the Moroccan government would not grant full independence to Western Sahara and would prefer the option of granting special autonomy status.
Based on the special autonomy status, Western Sahara will have its own government consisting of executive, legislative, and judicial institutions, which may be filled by members of local tribal representatives and former Polisario Front militias. All forms of legislation that will be issued must include the name of the kingdom in it and its contents must be in accordance with the articles contained in the Law on the Autonomous Status of the Sahara and the Royal Law.
In addition, the executive government may collect taxes and design and oversee regional budget expenditures that support the development of infrastructure and public facilities. Even so, the Western Saharan government is still obliged to fly the Moroccan flag and use the Moroccan currency, the Dirham, and to give the Moroccan government the authority for foreign relations, security and defense affairs. Not to forget, the Moroccan government will grant amnesty, namely the process of abolishing criminal and civil laws to people who have been proven to have committed serious crimes against the state, in this case the Polisario Front militias if they are willing to surrender their weapons to the army, disband the organization up to village level, and declared an oath of allegiance to the Kingdom of Morocco.
Morocco has occupied Western Sahara since 1975 due to its abundant mineral resources
Judging from history, Western Sahara has indeed been a colony of the Kingdom of Spain since 1885. Quoted from Arab Center Washington DCSpain left Western Sahara after the country signed the Treaty of Madrid (Madrid Accord) together with Morocco and Mauritania in 1975. Spain’s exit from the region opened the opportunity for Morocco and Mauritania to occupy Western Sahara until today.
Despite pressure from the United Nations to leave Western Sahara, Morocco has remained in the region by annexing the Western Sahara region controlled by Mauritania. Morocco continued to launch attacks against the Polisario Front until it was finally able to capture more than two-thirds of Western Sahara which lies along the Atlantic Ocean coastline in 1991. Through UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO), the United Nations promised a referendum on the status of the Western Sahara region by giving all citizens a choice, namely whether to choose the option of independence, special autonomy, or joining Morocco.
The slow progress of the referendum due to the stalled negotiations with Morocco which resulted in a prolonged political stalemate made the Polisario Front again launch attacks on Moroccan soldiers serving in Western Sahara in 2020. The militia organization accused the United Nations of deliberately delaying the implementation of the referendum for years in order to let oil and gas companies Morocco’s national gas company as well as foreign companies such as Siemens and Enel continue to exploit mineral resources buried in the lands of Western Sahara. Indeed, the lands of the Western Sahara are rich in abundant mineral resources, such as rock phosphate, oil and natural gas, and fresh water sources that stretch 690 miles downstream to end in the Atlantic Ocean.
The issue of the status of the Western Sahara region re-emerged to the international community after the US through the former US President 2016 – 2020, Donald Trump, recognized Morocco’s claim to the country’s sovereignty over the entire Western Sahara region in December 2020. The US decision was a form of quid pro quo or politics of revenge for Morocco’s willingness to normalize diplomatic relations with Israel under the framework of multilateral agreements between the US and several Middle Eastern and North African countries known as Abraham Accords.
However, Trump acknowledged Morocco’s sovereignty over the Western Sahara region unilaterally or unilaterally and did not contain a clear international legal basis, so it could not be accepted by member countries of the United Nations General Assembly (United Nations General Assembly), European Union (European Union), and the African Union (African Union). Although Trump has stepped down from the US presidential chair, until the end of 2021, the United States under the leadership of US President, Joe Biden, has not revoked the executive decision (Executive Order) about the Uncle Sam’s country’s acknowledgment of Morocco’s claim to Western Sahara which has been signed by the Trump administration’s regime.