FM: Western Sahara Political Process ‘Inconceivable’ Without Algeria


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Rabat – The recently-adopted resolution on Western Sahara came with a triple message, including clarity, firmness, and consistency, Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita said on Saturday.

On Friday, 13 members of the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2548, renewing the mandate of the peacekeeping operation in Western Sahara, MINURSO, for one year.

The Moroccan government expressed satisfaction with the new resolution, which aligns with its position to find a political solution to end the dispute over Western Sahara.

Algeria’s uncontestable role

Bourita said the resolution carries a message of clarity, underlining the importance of Algeria’s engagement in the political process to contribute to finding an agreed-upon solution to the conflict.

The new resolution cites Algeria five times, in line with recent resolutions.

The Moroccan FM said that prior to 2017, the Security Council’s resolutions for Western Sahara did not mention Algeria at all.

Algeria’s government has been claiming to be an “observer” to the conflict despite arming, sheltering, financing, and backing the separatist Polisario Front.

For Algeria, the conflict should be solved between Morocco and Polisario. Morocco, however, considers Algeria one of the four parties that should contribute to the UN-led political process.

Through the new resolution, the Security Council calls on Algeria to assume a role corresponding with its political, diplomatic, military, and humanitarian involvement in the dispute, the Moroccan FM argued.

“No political process is conceivable without the effective and constructive involvement of this country,” Bourita stressed.

The resolution also calls for a pragmatic solution to end the conflict.

“This is the way of the Security Council to reiterate its commitment to a political solution and to definitively rule out all unworkable options,” the Moroccan official continued. 

Polisario’s self-sabotage 

Bourita recalled the constant refusal of Polisario and Algeria to carry out a census of Sahrawis living in the Western Sahara region.

According to the UNHCR, the number of Sahrawis stands at approximately 90,000. The UN secretary-general’s latest report on Western Sahara expressed alarming information about the situation in Tindouf camps, where Sahrawis live in dire conditions.

The recent report published on October 7 listed several challenges facing the Sahrawis in the camps, including malnutrition, anemia, and a lack of vaccines.

The report also mentioned the struggle UN bodies, including the UNHCR, face in securing humanitarian aid.

For Rabat, the new resolution carries a firm message that stresses the importance of a census in Western Sahara. The message also urged Algeria and Polisario to respect the ceasefire and to end provocative and destabilizing maneuvers.

The resolution expressed concerns over the continuous provocation from Polisario in restricted areas, including Guergeurat, a town in the buffer zone along the Mauritania-Morocco border.

The UN recently called on Polisario to refrain from its illegal moves in the region, especially the hampering of civilian and commercial traffic.

“The secretary-general had reported to the Security Council 53 violations by the ‘Polisario’ militias, and noted that the terms of Military Agreement No. 1 were significantly less respected by the ‘Polisario,’” Bourita recalled.

The Moroccan FM also said the new Security Council resolution and the secretary-general’s report does not support Polisario and Algeria’s claims regarding a referendum.

“The resolution does not contain any reference to the referendum, while it refers 6 times to the political solution,” said Bourita.

He added that “those who continue to evoke the referendum option fall outside the resolution UN, which embodies both international legality and expresses the will of the international community.”

Morocco’s Autonomy Plan

Regarding “consistency,” the Moroccan FM said that the resolution insisted on consistency in the preservation of Morocco’s achievements, including the Autonomy Plan.

The international community finds the solution that Morocco submitted in 2007 to the Security Council a credible means of ending the conflict.

Bourita said that the autonomy initiative works as the basis of any political solution and the parameters of realism, pragmatism, and compromise, which characterize the Moroccan initiative.

The FM recalled that a set of countries recently reiterated support for Morocco’s Autonomy Plan.

Several countries renewed support for the Moroccan initiative, including the US, France, Oman, Jordan, and Gabon, among others, during the 75th session of the UN General Assembly’s Special Political and Decolonization (Fourth) Committee.