Tuesday, May 18

Washington and Rabat elude Pedro Sánchez


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Trust is essential for relations between States, which are long-lasting, although the management that governments of both sign can make determines their state of health. Since Pedro Sánchez came to the Presidency of the Government, State relations in key matters such as security and defense or the fight against terrorism with the United States and Morocco have been maintained, although the intelligence information has decreased its flow several levels, and contacts between governments suffered a great loss of trust. Sánchez’s decisions when choosing his partners to arrive at the Moncloa Palace have been proven wrong in light of the results in capitals as sensitive to the interests of Spain as Washington and Rabat. Furthermore, Sánchez’s estrangement from the Franco-German axis is causing many headaches when it comes to defending Spanish positions in the EU. Something that also happens in NATO.

Not even the departure of the Executive of Pablo Iglesias has managed, for the moment, to channel Morocco’s availability to hold the High-Level Meeting between the two governments, scheduled for November, apparently postponed due to the coronavirus crisis for the month of February, and no scheduled date, maybe before summer, right now. Then, the agenda of King Mohamed VI could not make room to receive Pedro Sánchez in audience and now it does not seem that the predisposition has improved. The monarch and the Moroccan power environment placed Sánchez as persona non grata for his signature in 2011 of a report by the National Democratic Institute, of the North American Democrats, very critical of the political and social conditions in Morocco.

Let us remember that it took Pedro Sánchez six months to be received in Rabat by Mohamed VI in 2018. At the moment, with the Moroccan borders closed, the virus justifies almost everything, but the reality is that Spain still does not react adequately to the dynamics unleashed by the decision of the Donald Trump Administration to recognize Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara. A decision that has not been reversed in the time that the new president, Joe Biden, has been in the White House. It is taking its time but in any case, the African Lion military maneuvers in Morocco and the United States next June include, for the first time, Western Sahara. The reaction of the Spanish Government to the initiative of the United States, which forced the postponement of the High Level Meeting, has not been in these months what Morocco expected. Above all, when the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, González Laya, assured that it was necessary to press for President Biden to reverse the decision because the situation in the Sahara is only the responsibility of the UN.

In the case of the relationship between Washington and Madrid, at the State level, a month ago the military agreement that regulates, among other aspects, the North American presence at the Rota and Morón bases was extended and an alleged option of transfer to Morocco. Two days later, the United States lifted tariffs on food products from Spain and other European countries. But four months have passed since his arrival at the White House and Joe Biden still does not call Pedro Sánchez, although he has recently called the Prime Minister of Greece and previously, several times, the leaders of France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy and Ireland, among other international leaders.

In this case, it is not the virus that justifies that Sánchez’s number does not work on Biden’s mobile, it is that Spain is in a permanent electoral campaign, Catalan and Madrid, and it is the North American diplomatic custom not to influence with gestures or calls. In this case, the relationship of the Spanish coalition government with Venezuela could explain the lack of interest, not to mention US distrust. The Delcy case in Barajas and the aid to the Plus Ultra company are some very dissonant pieces for the Biden administration. Not forgetting that the Spanish frigate Hernán Núñez abandoned the US fleet mid-mission due to its proximity to Gulf waters and the tension with Iran. Loss of confidence.

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