Madrid has put an end to its policy of equidistance regarding the Sahara issue during the past five decades, after voicing, for the first time, its clear support to the Moroccan autonomy initiative, said Samir Bennis, Political Advisor in Washington DC. “By affirming, for the first time, its clear and direct support for the Moroccan autonomy initiative, Madrid put an end to the policy of equidistance with which it had treated the issue of the Sahara for a good part of the past five decades to preserve its interests”, he underlined in an op-ed published by the news website “Media24”. But beyond the end of Madrid’s equidistance policy, “Spain’s new support for the Moroccan position means that Algeria has lost the strategic influence it has long wielded over the Spanish political class through its gas,” insisted Mr. Bennis, who also holds the position of editor-in-chief of Morocco World News. According to Mr. Bennis, the fact that the Spanish announcement of its new diplomatic policy on the Sahara curiously coincided with the recent Algerian, Spanish and Moroccan tour of the US Deputy Secretary of State, Wendy Sherman, suggests a certain coordination between Rabat, Madrid and Washington. “Thus, Spain no longer has any illusions about its relations with Algeria”, noted the political adviser, adding that “in Madrid, we know full well that apart from the gas agreement, the Algiers-Madrid partnership is insignificant and almost non-existent”. The furious response of Algeria to the reversal of the Spanish Position, on the Moroccan autonomy initiative, testifies to the suffering and the unprecedented agony triggered by the loss of the influence and support of a long-standing partner on the Sahara issue, he pointed out. This means that, for Morocco, the historic change in the Madrid position is a “demonstration of the unprecedented preeminence of the Moroccan autonomy initiative as the only way for the settlement of this regional dispute”, explained the political advisor.
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