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Western Sahara

CrisisWatch Western Sahara

Unchanged Situation

Morocco scored major diplomatic victory in battle over disputed Western Sahara while low-level violence continued. U.S. President Trump 10 Dec announced U.S. recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara as part of deal under which Morocco agreed to resume diplomatic relations with Israel (see Morocco). Polisario Front independence movement same day condemned U.S. stance on Western Sahara as “blatant violation” of international law, said Trump “attributes to Morocco something which does not belong [to it]”. Algerian govt 12 Dec rejected U.S. recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara, said it undermined efforts to end decades-long conflict (see Algeria). U.S. Sec State Pompeo 24 Dec launched process to open consulate in Western Saharan city of Dakhla. Meanwhile, Polisario throughout month continued to shell Moroccan defensive positions along East-West sand berm that separates Moroccan-controlled Western Saharan territory from Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic-controlled territory; no significant damages reported.

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Reports & Briefings

Western Sahara: The Cost of the Conflict

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

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.

Western Sahara: The Cost of the Conflict

The Western Sahara conflict is both one of the world’s oldest and one of its most neglected.

Also available in العربية, Español, Français and other languages

Western Sahara: Out of the Impasse

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.