A political adviser on Arab affairs at the UN in New York said Spain operated “double standards” by dismissing Moroccan sovereignty claims over Ceuta and Melilla as unfounded while pursuing its own claim over Gibraltar.
Moroccan born Samir Bennis said Spain’s position is that Gibraltar is recognised as a colony by both Spain and Britain, while Ceuta and Melilla have the same state legislation as is applied in the rest of Spain.
Not only that, Morocco has done nothing to have Ceuta and Melilla include on the UN’s list of non-self governing territories. But in comments to The Sunday Telegraph newspaper, Mr Bennis said this was because of political failings by Morocco.
“What mattered most during the Sixties and Seventies when such things were discussed was for Morocco to recover its territories in the south, including the Spanish protectorate of the Western Sahara,” Mr Bennis, who has published books on the subject, told the British newspaper.
“That was cleverly exploited by Spain who persuaded Morocco not to take the matter of Ceuta and Melilla up with the UN but agree to make it a strictly bilateral issue between Spain and Morocco.”
“Morocco has always put forth the parallel between the two issues, highlighting that Spain cannot claim to regain its sovereignty over Gibraltar while refusing the legitimate right of Morocco to regain its sovereignty over the two enclaves.” “The solutions are inextricably linked”.