Leader of Polisario Front independence movement Brahim Ghali 16 Dec denounced UN’s inability to end diplomatic stalemate over disputed territory, as young Sahrawis increased pressure on Polisario leadership to end status quo. After Moroccan parliament’s foreign affairs committee 16 Dec approved two bills extending Rabat’s maritime boundaries over Western Sahara’s territorial water, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) 18 Dec said move was “null and void”. Polisario Front renewed confidence in Brahim Ghali as secretary general with 86.10% of votes during its fiftieth congress in Tifariti 19-23 Dec.
The Western Sahara conflict is both one of the world’s oldest and one of its most neglected.
The combination of Morocco’s recent proposal of a “Sahara autonomous region”, the Polisario Front’s counter-proposal of independence with guarantees for Moroccan interests and the UN Security Council’s 30 April resolution calling for direct negotiations between the parties – due to begin on 18 June – has been hailed as a promising breakthrough in the protracted Western Sahara dispute.
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.
Originally published in Al Hayat
Originally published in The Wall Street Journal Europe