Staffan de Mistura meets Nasser Bourita in Rabat during his regional tour

Staffan de Mistura, the UN’s special envoy for the Saharan conflict, spoke with Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita during his first trip to the region. Omar Hilale, Morocco’s ambassador to the United Nations, was also present at the meeting at the Royal Palace in Rabat. During the meeting, Bourita has advocated the “resumption of the political process” under the leadership of the United Nations to reach a political solution. On the other hand, has defended Morocco’s autonomy proposal for the Sahara.

In this way, the head of Moroccan diplomacy reaffirmed Rabat’s position on the Sahara issue. King Mohammed VI, in his final address on the anniversary of the Green March, advocated a “peaceful solution”; even though he convinced that “Morocco in the Sahara will never be on the agenda of any negotiations”, according to international media TV5 Monde.

AFP/FABRICE COFFRINI – Staffan de Mistura, Special Envoy of the United Nations (UN) for Western Sahara

The Alawite Empire, such as the United Nations, support the round table process with the presence of four actors involved in conflict: Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania and the Polisario Front. The United Nations, for its part, has called on the parties to continue their participation in negotiations with “a spirit of realism and compromise, in order to reach a realistic, pragmatic, lasting political solution based on compromise.” However, Algiers and Polisario have opposed resuming talks in this way after being held in Switzerland by the previous UN envoy, Horst Köhler. However, Rabat continued to insist that Algeria participate in the negotiations. “Without Algeria there would be no dialogue”Hilale warned in August.

The UN Secretary General’s special envoy for Western Sahara will also visit Algeria and Mauritania

With the aim of reaching a common point so that the conversation can be restored, De Mistura will meet the other party in conflict during his journey through the region. “The private envoy looks forward to hearing the views of all stakeholders on how to move towards a constructive resumption of the political process in Western Sahara,” said Stephane Dujarric, UN spokesman. The Italian-Swedish diplomat, after living in Morocco, will meet members of the Polisario Front in Tindouf, where he will also visit refugee camps. In Algeria, he will speak with representatives of the Algerian government. Finally, he will travel to Mauritania, where he will speak with the Executive.

According to Challenge, De Mistura will meet with foreign diplomatic delegations in the region. Moroccan media listed the ambassadors of France, Britain and the United States.

AFP/FADEL SENNA
AFP/FADEL SENNA – The border post between Morocco and Mauritania in Guerguerat, located in Western Sahara

The special envoy has decided to travel to the region at a particularly difficult time between Morocco and Algeria, which severed diplomatic ties last August.. There has always been a strong controversy between the two countries, as Algiers is the main ally of Polisario. However, it was Algeria who decided to cut ties with its neighbors. In this context, Dujarric admits that this issue is a “situation that must be resolved.” “This is within De Mistura’s mandate,” he said. The spokesman also called for rapprochement between the two countries. “Things are always uncomplicated when bilateral relations between countries are more positive than negative,” he added.

De Mistura was appointed special envoy to the Sahara in November after Köhler stepped down in 2019 for health reasons. The former German president managed to get the parties involved to meet in Geneva, but not getting actors in conflict to approach a position to reach a political solution.

Matt Thompson

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