Diplomats have struggled to broker negotiations over the disputed territory of Western Sahara since late 2020, when a ceasefire between Morocco and the pro-independence Polisario Front broke down. If it steps up its engagement, Washington may be able to get the ball rolling.
UN Security Council renewed MINURSO mandate.
UN Sec Gen António Guterres’ annual report on Western Sahara 3 Oct highlighted UN envoy Staffan de Mistura’s continuing efforts to relaunch UN-led peace process. UN Security Council 30 Oct voted to extend mandate of UN mission (MINURSO) for another year until 31 Oct 2024; resolution won support of 13 of 15 Security Council members, with Russia and Mozambique abstaining, as council remains divided on Western Sahara crisis.
We're seeing a diplomatic war [over Western Sahara], where both sides [Algeria and Morocco] are resorting to anything short of open conflict.
On 29 October, the UN Security Council will vote on the UN mission in Western Sahara’s renewal. Following last year’s resumption of hostilities and the appointment of a new envoy, Council members should signal their commitment to relaunching negotiations and an even-handed approach to the conflict.
Hugh Pope is joined by North Africa experts Intissar Fakir and Riccardo Fabiani to ask whether Morocco holds a winning hand in its conflict with the pro-independence Polisario Front in Western Sahara as Europe looks on timidly, wary of direct challenges to the regional power.
Les combats au Sahara occidental, qui ont repris en novembre 2020, restent de faible intensité. Les puissances étrangères auraient pourtant tort de penser qu’aucune escalade n’est possible. Soutenu par les Etats-Unis, le nouvel envoyé des Nations unies devrait poursuivre les efforts de rétablissement de la confiance qui permettront de faciliter les négociations.
Après un cessez-le-feu de 30 ans entre le Maroc et le Front Polisario indépendantiste, des affrontements ont éclaté au Sahara occidental. Sans une aide internationale, les combats pourraient s’intensifier. L’ONU devrait nommer un envoyé spécial, et les Etats-Unis devraient prendre la tête des efforts internationaux de diplomatie.
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.
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.
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