Zapatero supports Sánchez's turn on the Sahara

Rodriguez Zapatero was one of the protagonists of the forum held this Thursday and Friday in Gran Canaria. / EFE

The former Prime Minister considers that he has been "brave" in defending the position of autonomy

EFE The Gran Canarian palms

The former Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero considered this Friday that Morocco's proposal for the Sahara to become an autonomous region of its territory is "a good way to negotiate" and described the position of the head of the Executive Pedro Sánchez for supporting her.

Zapatero has recalled that already in 2007, when he received the autonomy proposal, being President of the Government,
seemed like a good starting point for negotiations, as he has stated to journalists on the occasion of his speech at the closing 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 argued that a peace agreement is needed not only for the Sahara but
also for the Magreand that a "historic change" is necessary in North Africa, above all, due to the current global geopolitical moment, and pointed out that experience shows that after 50 years of conflict, as is the case, "begins to glimpse the possibility of a way out."

He also stressed "that we cannot remain undaunted in an era of very serious conflicts that are taking place" and therefore valued the holding of this conference, understanding that it is "essential" that there be initiatives for peace.

A controversial decision

In his opinion, the solution to the problem between Morocco and the Sahara
should be raised from the beginning of coexistence, and he has argued that the best political agreements in history have been the result of shared renunciation and recognition, not of the denial of the other.

«Political maps in history are changing and difficult, much more so those resulting from post-colonial processes; it is known for sure that understanding is the solution”, he added.

He has said that in 2007 he supported autonomy for the Sahara, but "communication and emotions make us not remember the past, it is in the newspaper archives", and that it is an intermediate solution because "it is not a rupture or cession", and that the position adopted by Pedro Sánchez is "brave and correct".

The former President of the Government (l) and the President of the Committee on Civil Liberties of the European Parliament, the socialist MEP Juan Fernando López Aguilar (r) /


As for the opinions that are contrary to this solution that has been called the third way, he has indicated that "it does not disqualify" those who oppose it, while recalling that his government was "the one that gave the most help to the people Saharawi for cooperation.

«I have maintained the same position for a long time:
the way of a great self-government for the Sahara is the most solid for the future and what is best for the population, and that is my free opinion”, stressed Zapatero, who has maintained that the political solution is to pursue an agreement that has the backing of the United Nations.

In any case, he has stated that it is the United Nations that has to "overturn all political authority" for the resolution of this conflict and that "we must all help in whatever it asks of us."

There are various proposals on the table for 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 for 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.

López Aguilar sees compatibility with the EU position

The president of the Civil Liberties Committee of the European Parliament, the socialist MEP Juan Fernando López Aguilar, who has also spoken at the conference, agrees with Zapatero.

He maintained that the position of the Government of Spain is compatible with that of the European Union and
respectful of international lawgiven the criticism received for Pedro Sánchez's support for the Moroccan autonomy proposal, which, moreover, has done so in the same terms as the United Nations resolutions since 2007, he added.

As for the criticism received for his speech, he has made clear his respect for the Polisario Front, but has expressed his
"outrage" at some accusations made by Canarian political representatives, "disqualifying the conference and those who participate", by those who have come to be considered "agents paid by Morocco".

For López Aguilar, this type of disqualification is "intolerable and a textbook example of what is being fought in the EU as 'fake news' and intoxications."

According to the MEP, it not only involves "disinformation, but malicious intoxication", since they lie as if "it were free and unpunished", for which he also recalled that measures are being taken in the EU to combat disinformation.