Spain has rejected the Algerian government plane that came to pick up the leader of the Polisario Front, Brahim Ghali, because it lacked the corresponding diplomatic permission, according to government sources. The aircraft, which was flying over Ibiza, was intercepted minutes before 8 in the morning by the Balearic air controllers after receiving the instruction from their military counterparts from Gavá, who warned that they did not have authorization to pass through Spanish airspace, he explains. the Ministry of Transport. At that time, the official Algerian Government plane was informed that it could not continue the route to the Agoncillo airport (La Rioja) as it appeared in the flight plan and has been forced to return, according to El Confidencial has advanced.
The leader of the Polisario Front, an uncomfortable guest for Spain
The plane from Algiers was going to land at the Rioja airport to pick up the leader of the Polisario Front several hours before the end of his statement by videoconference before the judge of the National Court Santiago Pedraz in both cases of genocide and torture in which he is accused. . Ghali has been hospitalized in Logroño since mid-April suffering from coronavirus and cancer. His presence in Spain led to a diplomatic crisis with Morocco, which he took advantage of to reproach the Government of Pedro Sánchez for its position on Western Sahara, despite the fact that it is the one established by the UN resolutions.
After his appearance, the magistrate has released Ghali rejecting the precautionary measures requested by the accusations so that he can leave the country when he considers it. The Government, in fact, hopes that he will do so as soon as he is recovered, although he avoids giving details about his state of health, and urges him to collaborate with the Spanish justice. "When he recovers, we understand that this person will go to his country of origin," said the Government spokesperson, María Jesús Montero, at the press conference after the Council of Ministers, in which he assured not having has intervened with respect to any question of any flight ".
Also in the representation of the Polisario Front in Spain they claim not to have "evidence" that the plane was to pick up Ghali after his statement, reports Gabriela sanchez. "He has always intended to travel back as soon as possible. Right now he is still in the hospital recovering. The moment it is considered that he can travel he will do so. He is trying to make believe that Ghali wanted to flee, but the best answer has been to put himself at the disposal of justice. The judge has shown that there was nothing against him. Nor was there any reason that prevented his departure from Spain ", say sources from the Polisario Front in Spain, who assure that the discharge is not yet given and remember this can be "medical or voluntary".
The Ministry of Transport ensures that the civil controllers have given the order to the plane at the request of the military officials "who ultimately have decision-making capacity" on the aircraft that fly over Spanish airspace. "He has the last word in what has to do with the sovereignty of the airspace," says a spokesman, who explains that the agencies that depend on that department limit themselves to "managing flight plans" and pointing out that diplomatic cases They require an authorization from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The department headed by Arancha González Laya refers to Transportation while Defense also points to Foreign Affairs. "Once the plane is identified, if it does not have the required authorization, the civil controllers are informed," say an official spokesman for the Ministry of Margarita Robles. Laura Galaup. Government sources indicate that it is Foreign Affairs who have to give diplomatic permission as it is an official flight of the Government of Algeria, while if it were a conventional civil flight, the matter would not have to go through that ministry. However, the plane did not have such authorization, as confirmed by the Executive. What it does not clarify is whether he did not have the diplomatic permit because he had not requested it or because it had been denied.
Ghali's presence in Spain for "humanitarian reasons" has caused a major diplomatic crisis with Morocco, which has taken advantage of it to pressure with the abandonment of functions at the border as a warning for the position regarding Western Sahara. During 36 hours there was the massive entry of 10,000 people into Ceuta that the Sánchez government has described as an "assault." The recomposition of diplomatic relations seems still far away and just a few hours before the Algerian plane left for Logroño to pick up Ghali, the Moroccan Government warned in a harsh statement that the solution to the crisis did not begin with his arrival "nor will it end with his departure".
“If what you are saying is that you have used immigration, the assault, I find it unacceptable and I reject that statement. It is not admissible that there is a Government that says that the borders are opened so that 10,000 immigrants enter due to discrepancies in foreign policy ”, replied Pedro Sánchez. The trick that Spain is playing is the EU. "It has neither a better nor a greater ally in the EU than Spain for many of its demands," the president warned.
"Our desire is for the tension we have with this country to which we are neighbors to end. We are aware that Spain wishes to maintain a good relationship with Morocco not only because of a neighborly relationship but also commercially. The constructive relationship allows us to be a kind of ambassadors of this country in the EU, "Montero warned this Tuesday.