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Rabat – Morocco’s Foreign Affairs Minister Nasser Bourita has said that Algeria is a main party to the Western Sahara conflict, and that the decades-long political gridlock can only come to an end if Algiers “assumes its responsibility” and participates fully in UN-led negotiations.
Bourita made the remarks in response to comments by Sabri Boukadoum, Algeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister.
Speaking at a press recently on the sidelines of the Cultural Economy Forum, the Algerian minister argued that Algeria has no stakes and no role in the Sahara dispute. He said that Morocco and the Polisario Front are the only parties concerned by the UN-led process to find a lasting solution to the conflict.
“The personal envoy is not enough, there must be a process. We continue to say that direct and serious negotiations are necessary between the parties to the conflict, Morocco and the Polisario Front,” said Boukadoum.
In response, Bourita said that Algeria has long promoted misleading information and double talk around Western Sahara file, in addition to its hostility towards Morocco.
For the Moroccan minister, not only is Algeria’s support for Polisario an indication of its involvement in the conflict, but the county has been active in obstructing the designation of a new UN personal envoy to Western Sahara.
“There are attempts to designate a personal envoy and we should see who is obstructing the process and act against what his official sayings,” said Bourita.
“We should determine who is supportive of stability and the cease fire and who provides arms, support, and regularly breaches the cease fire.”
Bourita reaffirmed that a pragmatic solution to the Saha conflict is only possible with the full participation of Algeria in the political process. He noted that Algeria, and not the Polisario Front, should be Morocco’s main interlocutor.
“I agree with the Algerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, considering that the solution to the Sahara issue will only be achieved through dialogue between the two real parties to the issue, which we have always called for, with Morocco and Algeria sitting at the dialogue table,” Bourita explained.
As well as stressing Morocco’s serious, increasingly noted efforts towards a sustainable political solution, Bourita reiterated Rabat’s unfaltering commitment to the UN-led process.
While Algeria played a historical role in the genesis of the conflict, he argued, its ongoing diplomatic acitism and well-documented support for the Polisario have been critical in perpetuating the conflict.
He concluded by calling upon Algeria to assume its responsibility in the Sahara issue by taking part in multilateral, UN-sponsored dialogue initiatives to either defend its point of view or give a chance to peace and stability.