TENSIONS between Spain and Morocco have risen as the Moroccan government has accused Spain of ‘double standards’ over the COVID-19 treatment of a notorious independence leader.
Brahim Ghali, leader of the Polisario Front Independence Group, has been hospitalised in Spain for two weeks receiving medical treatment for coronavirus.
The Algeria backed breakaway movement aims to create a separate western Sahara nation, causing armed tension within the region.
The Spanish governments decision to accept 73-year-old Ghali has caused Morocco’s Foreign Affairs Ministry to act, accusing Spain of going against mutual agreements and ‘inconsistent with the spirit of partnership and good neighbourliness’.
Spain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs told the media last week that Ghali was accepted purely for humanitarian reason, but Morocco demands more.
Ghali, also the leader of the self created government of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, aims to separate an area of coastline surrounding Agadir, a region with a population of 600,000.
The battle for territory has led to numerous attacks at the border of the region, even gaining the attentions of former US president Donald Trump, whose party’s visit to the region in January to set up a diplomatic presence there has been accused of flaring tensions further.
The region in question was colonised in the early 19th century and remained a Spanish colony until 1975.
According to a statement from the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, Ghali is ‘recovering favourably’
Tensions between the two nations comes as Spain’s government seeks collaboration with its African neighbour to help the current migrant crisis coming from the region.
It also presents a headache for Pedro Sanchez as he recently sought to increase ties with Africa with his new Africa Strategy.
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