Saturday, April 13

Sánchez presses for NATO to “give a strong message to the southern flank of the Alliance”


The president and Albares mobilize so that the new allied strategy at the Madrid Summit is not limited to intimidating Russia

Pedro Sánchez intervenes in the Davos Forum.EFE
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The Government has been pressing for weeks so that the new Security Concept, to be approved by NATO at its Madrid Summit, serves as an intimidation to the countries south of the Mediterranean. The Executive wants to take advantage of the allies’ desire to show firmness against Russia at the Atlantic Alliance meeting in the Spanish capital to also show its teeth against the Maghreb and the Sahel.

The baptized as Strategic Concept Madrid “define the security challenges facing the Alliance and design the political and military tasks that NATO must carry out to face them,” according to the allied program for next month’s meeting.

The President of the Government himself, Pedro Sánchez, took advantage of a question before the audience at the Davos Forum to send the message to the other side of the Mediterranean. “For Spain it is very important that the NATO Summit in Madrid sends a strong message about its southern flank. We have to face the security challenge on the eastern flank, but also the security concerns on the southern flank,” he said in response to a question from the Forum’s president, the Norwegian Borge Brendeabout his expectations of the next Atlantic summit.

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The Spaniard has not mentioned Morocco or Algeria and has hinted that he wants that mark for “sub-Saharan countries”, but has spoken of NATO’s “southern flank” without distinction of countries.

Along the same lines, the Foreign Minister also campaigned in Davos, Jose Manuel Albares. “We have very big threats from our southern flank, the political and unacceptable use of energy and irregular migration to threaten our sovereignty,” he commented in a discussion on global geopolitical perspectives at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Morocco did use immigrants last year in Ceuta causing great tension with Spain. “Unity is our best defense against any threat, whether it comes from the south or the east,” Albares pointed out. The government hopes to have the support of countries such as the United States or France due to their concern about the terrorist dynamics in the Sahel region, where the jihadists are less weakened than in Iraq or Syria.

It is, according to Albares, “very poor countries, where governance has been weakened in the last decadewith more and more military junta, with rising prices of cereals and fertilizers”.

Brende described the Madrid Summit as a “historic event” and asked Sánchez what will be the accession of Finland and Sweden. The Spaniard, aware of Turkey’s objections, said he could not “speak on behalf of all members” of NATO, but showed clear support for both Nordic countries. His heads of government will attend “of course” the allied summit, according to the PSOE leader. “They are great democracies … and I think it is very important for NATO and the European Union to have them by our side as allies.”

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He did not guarantee their accession, but he did maintain that “the political will of the allies is to work with these two countries.” What Spain will do is part of it, accelerating “the entire parliamentary process” in Las Cortes.

For his part, the Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenbergalso in Davos, highlighted how the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has revitalized NATO. “It wanted less NATO on its borders and now it is getting more NATO on its borders and more members. Finland and Sweden have announced that they are presenting their candidacy for membership and this is historic,” he welcomed. He once again ruled out direct action against Russia.

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