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Western Sahara

CrisisWatch Western Sahara

Improved Situation

Appointment of new UN envoy after two-year search signalled major step toward rekindling peace process. UN Sec-Gen Guterres 6 Oct appointed Italian-Swedish diplomat Staffan de Mistura as new personal envoy for Western Sahara; post had remained vacant since 2019 as Morocco or Polisario Front independence movement rejected a dozen other candidates. UN Security Council 29 Oct renewed mandate of UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) for one year, also expressed concern at breakdown of 1991 ceasefire and called for revival of UN-led negotiations. NGO Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project 27 Oct reported Moroccan forces mid-Oct launched strikes on Polisario Front positions in Tifariti and Mahbes areas. Amid persistent diplomatic tensions between Algeria and Morocco over Western Sahara, Algerian media outlets accused Rabat of involvement in 13 Oct bomb attack that killed Algerian soldier in Tlemcen province near border with Morocco.
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Reports & Briefings

Relaunching Negotiations over Western Sahara

Also available in العربية, Español, Français and other languages

Time for International Re-engagement in Western Sahara

Also available in العربية, Français
Sahara occidental : le coût du conflit

Western Sahara: The Cost of the Conflict

Also available in العربية, Español, Français and other languages
Western Sahara: Out of the Impasse

Western Sahara: Out of the Impasse

In The News

11 Dec 2020
[The US recognition of Rabat’s claim to Western Sahara] will make Sahrawi youths more angry, mobilised and committed to resolving the conflict through force. Financial Times

Riccardo Fabiani

Project Director, North Africa

Latest Updates

Time for International Re-engagement in Western Sahara

Clashes have broken out in Western Sahara, ending a 30-year ceasefire between Morocco and the pro-independence Polisario Front. Fighting could intensify absent outside help. The UN should fill its empty special envoy post, while the U.S. leads international efforts to restart diplomacy.

Also available in العربية, Français

Trump’s Morocco-Israel Transaction

This week on Hold Your Fire!, Rob Malley and guest host Richard Atwood talk with Dahlia Scheindlin and Crisis Group’s North Africa Project Director Riccardo Fabiani about the normalisation of relations between Israel and Morocco and the accompanying U.S. recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara.

The Youth Movement in Sahrawi Refugee Camps

Refugee camps in Tindouf, Algeria, have long been run by the Polisario movement, which seeks an independent state in Western Sahara, also claimed by Morocco. But a new generation of Sahrawi refugees is growing fractious as aid dwindles and diplomatic efforts fail to deliver a settlement.