The former Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and the MEP Juan Fernando López Aguilar support the representativeness of the Movement Saharawi for Peace

Hach Ahmed ofrece un marco de negociación concreto entre Marruecos y el pueblo saharaui


The Movement Saharawi for Peace (MSP) has laid the foundations on Friday for a political negotiation to put an end to the long-running dispute over Western Sahara, which has lasted 47 years. From Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, a land of great symbolism for the Saharawi people, the first secretary of the organisation, Hach Ahmed Bericalla, outlined a concrete political framework to "make the rights of the Saharawi people converge with the interests of Morocco" before the attentive listening of the former president of the Spanish government, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, the MEP Juan Fernando López Aguilar and dozens of Saharawi citizens.

Renowned personalities from civil society, chiujs (tribal chiefs), politicians and academics attended this Friday the second and final day of the '1st International Conference on Peace and Security', held in the CICCA cultural centre. From this location, the MSP has launched a political manifesto, the so-called Manifesto of the Canary Islands, with "pragmatic" proposals to relaunch the peace process and find a mutually acceptable solution to the Sahara dossier. The document, according to the organisation, "will be sent to the UN, as well as to different international bodies". Morocco and the Polisario Front will also have it at their disposal.


"The Movement Saharawi for Peace is the new awakening. It is the spontaneous response to a supposedly liberating and decolonising process which has brought nothing but misfortune to the Saharawi people", indicated Hach, who wanted to send a message of hope "to all Saharawis wherever they are, in whatever position they are in". The first secretary and founder of the MSP, which emerged from the ashes of the Saharawi Initiative for Change, has been pursuing a "realistic" solution to the conflict since 2020.

Hach, a former Polisario Front leader, described the group as "the worst tragedy for the Sahrawi people". "It has been a permanent journey to nowhere, full of misfortunes and hardships. In the end, the Saharawis have been massacred at the whim of failed projects", the first secretary of the MSP, who left the organisation after a series of internal disagreements, told a packed auditorium of former Polisario Front high commanders.

The founder of the MSP accused the group of having caused the failure of conflict resolution: "There have been no less than 10 special envoys and three UN secretaries-general in succession, all leading to a loss of trust". "We have been chasing mirages under a destructive ideology," he concluded, denouncing the lack of critical voices and internal democracy.


Led by Hach and backed by notable tribal leaders, the MSP aims to dispute the leadership and representativeness of the Sahrawi people that the Polisario Front has claimed for itself for decades, a representativeness that is also contemplated in successive UN resolutions. However, the movement denounces the lack of plurality within the Polisario Front, and is committed to an alternative path that builds bridges and is constructive. A path which, according to Hach, "would allow the Saharawis to return to their land and not depend on charity".

On foreign affairs, the first secretary of the MSP welcomed the appointment of the new UN special envoy, Staffan De Mistura. "He should enforce the ceasefire, and we should take advantage of the interest that the international community is still showing in the conflict". He also welcomed the position taken on the dispute by the United States, France, Germany "and especially Spain". "The serious and credible proposal must be put to the test," Hach added.

He ended the block with two messages. One, addressed to the Saharawi people: "We have invited the representatives of the Polisario, but the offer was declined". Another, to those he called "friends of the Polisario in Spain": "Do not hinder the debate, encourage coexistence and not radicalism".


Hach explained the content of the political proposal of the Movement Saharawi for Peace, a proposal that translates into the conquest of a broad autonomy comparable to that of the free associated states, federal states or, more specifically, to that of the autonomies in Spain. This model, defended the first secretary general of the MSP, would provide the Saharawi people with a legal framework of self-government that is practically unprecedented.

The Saharawis would enjoy their own judicial bodies, political representation and social services. Even autonomous police, trained and prepared for the protection of the Sahara and the defence of hotspots such as the Sahel, marked in recent years by the growing presence of jihadist groups that threaten the stability of the Maghreb region. In this case, under the Moroccan state. Hach described this possibility as a litmus test for Morocco's modern parliamentary monarchy.

Zapatero: "Historical processes are based on recognition, not on the denial of the other"

The former Prime Minister of Spain, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, took centre stage on the second day of the 'First International Conference on Peace and Security'. A day after the former Minister of Defence, José Bono, Zapatero closed ranks with the MSP and its founder, in an event that was also attended by the Socialist Juan Fernando López Aguilar, President of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs in the European Parliament.


The former Prime Minister called for the recognition of the parties to involve the MSP in the dialogue. "Dialogue is an end in itself", declared Zapatero, who believes it is possible to achieve "a great self-government for the Sahara, in which its language and identity are recognised". The key to achieving this is politics, he insisted, is dialogue: "Dialogue not only leads to respect, but to the recognition of the other. It is the guarantee of being able to build something".


On his arrival at the conference, the former Prime Minister wanted to send a message to the UN: "The UN is the one who has to make a move". "My political experience has taught me that plan B is always better than plan A", Zapatero said, referring to the plan for autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty presented by Rabat. "In 2007 I supported autonomy, there you have the newspaper archives, and my government was the one that provided the most economic aid in cooperation to the Sahrawi people", he concluded.


López Aguilar spoke of the "chronic pain" caused by the conflict, which, in his opinion, should not last another 50 years. Any conversation on this issue is a conversation worth participating in," he added, "and any mutually acceptable solution will be better than this lasting another 50 years. It is a step in the right direction".