Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Sept. 23 (EFE).- Former Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero this Friday said Morocco’s proposal to make the Sahara an autonomous region of its territory “is a good way to negotiate” and has described as “courageous” the position of Chief Executive Pedro Sánchez for his support.
Zapatero recalled that already in 2007, when he received the proposal for autonomy, as president of the government, it seemed to him a good starting point for negotiations, as he told journalists on the occasion of his speech at the end of the “ Conference for Peace and Security in Western Sahara”, convened by the Saharawi Movement for Peace in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
Rodríguez Zapatero has maintained that a peace agreement is needed not only for the Sahara but also for the Maghreb, and that a “historical change” is needed in North Africa, especially because of the current global geopolitical moment, pointing out that experience shows that after 50 years of conflict, as is the case, “the possibility of a way out begins to glimmer.”
He also stressed “that we cannot remain undaunted in an era of very serious conflicts taking place” and therefore appreciated the holding of this conference, recognizing that it is “essential” that initiatives for peace be made.
In his opinion, the solution of the problem between Morocco and the Sahara should be considered from the beginning of coexistence, and he has argued that the best political agreements in history are the result of shared renunciation and recognition, not the denial of others.
“Political maps in history are changing and difficult, much more due to postcolonial processes; it is certainly known that understanding is the solution,” he added.
He has said that he supported the autonomy for the Sahara in 2007, but “communication and emotions do not remind us of the past, it is in the newspaper archives”, that it is an interim solution because “it is not a rupture or transference” and that it “courageous and correct” is the position of Pedro Sánchez.
Regarding the opinions contrary to this solution called the third way, he has stated that he does not disqualify those who oppose it, while recalling that his government “was the one that gave the Sahrawi people the most help given to the cooperation”.
“I have long held the same position: the path of great self-government for the Sahara is the most solid for the future and what is best for the people, and it is my free opinion,” stressed Zapatero, who has argued that the political solution is to argue for an agreement backed by the United Nations.
In any case, he has stated that it is the United Nations that “must overthrow all political authority” for the solution of this conflict and that “we must all help in whatever it asks of us”.
There are several proposals on the table in this dispute, the autonomy advocated by Morocco and the defense of the right to self-determination by the Polisario Front, but the United Nations is in favor of that, and even more so at this time when more serious conflicts are taking place, “Let’s strengthen the authority of the United Nations,” he concluded.
The President of the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties Commission, Socialist MEP Juan Fernando López Aguilar, has also championed a solution to the Sahara conflict that is approved by both sides and then submitted to the consultation of the Saharawi people .
López Aguilar has maintained that the position of the government of Spain is compatible with that of the European Union and with respect for international law, despite the criticism received of Pedro Sánchez’s support for the Moroccan autonomy proposal, which, moreover, is in the same conditions such as United Nations resolutions since 2007.
For the socialist MEP, this dispute has “hidden a human pain” for 50 years and therefore it is worth participating in this conference to find a solution; “It takes too long and there are many of us who think that any mutually accepted solution through compromise will be better than another fifty years of pain.”
As for the criticism he received for his speech, he has made clear his respect for the Polisario Front, but has expressed his “outrage” at some of the allegations made by political representatives of the Canary Islands, “who called the conference and those participating”, to disqualify those they have reached to consider as “agents paid by Morocco”.
For López Aguilar, this kind of disqualification is “unacceptable and a textbook example of what is being combated in the EU as ‘fake news’ and drunkenness.”
According to the MEP, it is not just about “disinformation, but malicious intoxication”, as they lie as if “it is free and with impunity”, for which he also reminded that the EU is taking steps to fight disinformation. EFE