Alberto Núñez Feijóo, leader of the Popular Party, met in Rotterdam (Netherlands) with the Prime Minister of Morocco, Aziz Akhannouch, showing the importance that the main Spanish opposition party attaches to its North African neighbour and partner.
In this bilateral meeting held on the sidelines of the European People's Party Congress, Núñez Feijóo showed the willingness of his political party to take the Alawi kingdom into account as a reliable partner and ally, giving important relevance to the Kingdom. It is clear that Morocco is a foreign policy priority for the PP with this meeting, which comes shortly after the Galician politician took over the leadership of Spain's main opposition party.
One of the important issues that Alberto Núñez Feijóo wanted to highlight during this brief meeting was Western Sahara. On this point, the popular leader already made it clear that he wants Rabat to know first-hand the position of his political party regarding the Sahara, which is within the framework of the resolutions of the United Nations Organisation (UN) and is seeking a greater consensus in Spain than that which was harvested with the initiative promoted by Pedro Sánchez, President of the Government, who sent a letter to King Mohammed VI in which he gave the support of his Executive to the Moroccan proposal for broad autonomy of the Sahrawi territory under the sovereignty of the Alaouite kingdom. Morocco has always defended this initiative while respecting the postulates of the United Nations.
"The Sahara problem cannot be solved with a clandestine charter. The problem of the Sahara must be brought to light, with stenographers, transparency and international agreements. This is exactly the opposite of what the government has done. Clandestinity to resolve an international problem only causes more problems, more tensions, more uncertainty and less responsibility towards the Sahrawi people, towards Morocco and towards the United Nations", said Alberto Núñez-Feijóo in words reported by the newspaper El Mundo.
"I am convinced that the Moroccan Prime Minister will understand me, because the important thing between two countries is that there should be no deceit, no disloyalty and no clandestine letters. We are going to do this clearly and in the light of day. And in the Congress of Deputies", the leader of the opposition assured.
He also stated that the important thing in the resolution of the conflict in the Sahara is that "Morocco feels comfortable". However, it was not entirely clear from Núñez Feijóo's statements what the official position of his political party was regarding support for the autonomous formula presented by Morocco, which does have the approval of Pedro Sánchez's government.
Here, Núñez Feijóo opposed the Spanish government's action for being unilateral in his opinion, without having counted on the rest of the political groups in the national parliament, although without criticising the substance of the issue in principle. It should be recalled that the Moroccan proposal for broad autonomy for Western Sahara under the sovereignty of the Alawi kingdom has recently received significant support from many powers such as the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom and, more recently, Spain, and enjoys considerable international consensus.
Opposing this plan is the referendum formula for the independence of the Sahrawi population advocated by the Polisario Front, which has little significant support compared to Morocco, including Algeria, the Alawi kingdom's great political rival in North Africa.
Regarding the Polisario Front, Núñez Feijóo did want to make it clear that his position will always be one of transparency towards Morocco, unlike what happened when the Polisario leader Brahim Ghali was received in Spanish territory in April last year without the Spanish government giving any explanation to the North African country, which generated a major diplomatic crisis with Morocco that led to episodes that further increased tension, such as the entry of thousands of irregular immigrants through the Ceuta border or the withdrawal of the Moroccan ambassador from Madrid.
Behind everything there was also the underlying problem of Morocco's lack of official Spanish support for its proposal on Western Sahara. This did come with the latest letter from Spanish President Pedro Sánchez to the King of Morocco, Mohammed VI, in which he recognised the Moroccan formula on the Sahrawi territory as "the most serious, credible and realistic" to end more than four decades of conflict in the area.
This was followed by Mohammed VI's official reception for Pedro Sánchez in Rabat in the middle of Ramadan, as a great demonstration of rapprochement and friendship, and other gestures of cooperation such as the return of the Moroccan ambassador to Spain and the reopening of land borders at the Ceuta and Melilla crossings, which the Alaouite kingdom had closed two years ago due to the coronavirus pandemic.