Karima Benyaich issued a warning to the Spanish government about the situation regarding the presence of the Polisario Front leader in Spain

Embajadora de Marruecos: si Ghali sale de España como entró, empeorará la "grave crisis"

Embassy of Morocco in Spain - Karima Benyaich, Ambassador of Morocco to Spain

The Moroccan Ambassador to Spain, Karima Benyaich, warned on Friday in Rabat that if Spain opts to remove Brahim Ghali from Spain "with opacity", in the same way he entered, "it is opting for the stagnation and worsening of bilateral relations".

In a statement read out at the Foreign Ministry in Rabat and after meeting with its minister, Nasser Bourita, the ambassador, who was recalled to the Moroccan capital for consultations on Tuesday, did not hesitate to describe the current crisis in Spanish-Moroccan relations as a "serious crisis".

Karima Benyaich pointed out that what happens with Ghali "is a test for the independence of Spanish justice, in which we have full confidence", but also another test to see whether Spain "chooses to strengthen its relations with Morocco or prefers to collaborate with its enemies".

For the ambassador, "Spain has unfortunately opted for opacity in order to act behind Morocco's back, welcoming and protecting this criminal and executioner, using humanitarian reasons as a pretext and thus offending the dignity of the Moroccan people".

Morocco, he added, "is not looking for favours or complacency, but for the spirit of the partnership to be respected and for Spanish law to be applied" to Ghali, accused of "serious acts related to crimes against humanity, human rights violations and the rape of women".

El ministro marroquí de Asuntos Exteriores y Cooperación Internacional, Nasser Bourita

On Thursday, Minister Nasser Bourita said the ambassador would not return to Madrid "while the crisis and the real cause of the crisis last", in reference to both the future of Brahim Ghali when he is discharged from a hospital in Logroño and to explanations from the Spanish side as to how Ghali entered Spanish territory.

Several organisations, such as the Sahrawi Association for the Defence of Human Rights (ASADEDH) and the Sahrawi Canary Islands Forum, are calling for the presence in court of the Polisario Front leader, who is accused by several parties of alleged crimes of genocide and terrorism. Ghali's entry into Spain was rejected by Morocco and various organisations and has generated a major diplomatic crisis between the Alawi kingdom and the Spanish government. All of this has been compounded by the latest disturbing episode of thousands of immigrants illegally entering Spanish territory through Ceuta. 

The diplomatic crisis between the two countries is the most serious since 2002, due to the invasion of the islet of Perejil by Moroccan forces and its subsequent eviction by Spanish soldiers. And now Morocco is asking for explanations for the reasons for Brahim Ghali's entry into Spain, just at a time when the North African country has received a great deal of international support for its proposal for the autonomy of Western Sahara under the sovereignty of the Kingdom, including from nations such as the United States and the United Arab Emirates, and represented by actions such as the announcements of the opening of consulates of relevant countries in strategic enclaves such as Dakhla and Laayoune. All this in the face of a Polisario Front position that has little international support.