The Government is not able to give a clear and coherent explanation that justifies the lurch regarding the conflict in Western Sahara and it is also not successful in the search for a solution capable of redirecting relations with Algeria. Neither the president was able to solve the doubts of Congress in his appearance last week, nor was the minister able to appease the Algerian diplomatic discomfort, nor was the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs capable of presenting more than canned arguments in the Senate.

The Foreign Minister and the First Vice President, José Manuel Albares and Nadia Calviño, have subscribed to the thesis of blaming Russia, presenting it as the hand that moves the cradle of the angry reaction in Algiers, which has not only suspended the Bilateral Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation but also has short-circuited trade flows with Spanish companies.

One explanation is that they have not convinced the parliamentary forces. The PP has branded it as “not very intelligent” while United We Can continue to consider the turn in relation to the former Spanish colony of “betrayal” to its own principles and to the Saharawi people.

The popular spokeswoman in the Foreign Commission of Congress, Valentina Martínez, regrets that the Government has entered a “spiral in which it neither listens nor learns nor wants to rectify”. In his opinion, if what is intended is, as Albares points out, “to give dialogue a chance”, it is necessary to “create the conditions for this to be possible and not say that there is someone else behind it”, in reference to the blame now intends to pour against Moscow a traditional ally of Algiers.

For the popular, the retaliatory measures that Algeria has adopted are a direct consequence of the “unilateral” and “unjustifiable” policy of Pedro Sánchez regarding the Sahara and any other argument is nothing more than an attempt to “throw the balls out”. “As Spaniards we are diplomatically at the mercy of Morocco and Algeria at the same time, it had never happened before,” the PP’s deputy secretary for Institutions, Esteban González Pons, added yesterday.

Podemos also agrees in placing all the responsibility for the clash with Algiers on the roof of the Government. His state co-spokesperson Pablo Fernández has branded the socialist swerve that now endorses Morocco’s annexationist plan over the territory of the Sahara as a “huge mistake” and only attributes the deterioration of relations with Algeria to this.

The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Ángeles Moreno, summoned yesterday to the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Senate, did not give any explanation for the radical change regarding the Sahara. Questioned by the Compromís senator, Carles Mulet, Moreno provided arguments read and canned outside the content of the questions that were asked: “The security of the southern flank is a priority for Spain and the EU”, “what guides the Government of Spain is the defense of its citizens and its companies” or “we defend a position clearly anchored in the UN resolutions”.

None of this convinced the questioner who accused Albares and Sánchez of having “dynamited the consensus” and having “betrayed the Cortes”. “Neither stability nor responsibility, what they have done has been to bow in a unilateral and humiliating manner to Morocco. You cannot speak of defending the interests of either Spain or the Sahara.”

The Valencian senator, who took for granted that the lurch regarding the Sahara is the direct consequence of the hacking of Sánchez’s phone by Morocco, insisted that Spanish foreign policy is “a chirigota”. “Either they rectify or they leave. The foreign minister should not remain in office for another minute,” he added.

Mulet referred to the serious consequences for Valencian companies of the blockade of commercial operations with Spain imposed by Algeria. In this sense, the Minister of Sustainable Economy of the Valencian Community, Rafael Climent, also expressed himself, who asked the Government for a “quick and serious diplomatic response”. Climent has sent a letter to the Executive asking him to convene a sector table to study aid for the most affected companies. According to his data, 23% of the Spanish companies that export to Algeria are Valencian.

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