Western Sahara

CrisisWatch Western Sahara

Unchanged Situation

President Ghali reshuffled govt, while tensions remained high between Morocco and Algeria over status of disputed territory.

Cabinet reshuffle removed political heavyweights. President of self-proclaimed Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), Brahim Ghali, 14 Feb reshuffled cabinet, notably replacing long-time FM Mohamed Ould Salek with Mohamed Sidati, former Polisario Front independence movement representative in Paris; Ghali also appointed Sahrawi-Algerian citizen Meriem Salek Hamada as new interior minister. Bechir Mustapha Sayed, who in Jan ran against Ghali to become Polisario Front secretary general, removed from his position as presidential adviser.

Algeria and Morocco remained at loggerheads over Western Sahara’s status. Responding to written questions from MEPs, European Union (EU) Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell 17 Feb said EU “does not have information on potential collaboration between Polisario Front and terrorist groups” in Sahel region and “has not detected any evidence” of diversion of humanitarian aid provided to Sahrawi refugees. Algerian and pro-Polisario media outlets immediately welcomed statement as evidence that Morocco’s longstanding allegations are baseless. During African Union (AU) summit held 18-19 Feb in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, divisions between Morocco, on one hand, and Algeria and SADR, on the other, blocked appointment of North African country representative as VP of AU bureau.

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In The News

6 Sep 2022
We're seeing a diplomatic war [over Western Sahara], where both sides [Algeria and Morocco] are resorting to anything short of open conflict. AFP

Riccardo Fabiani

Project Director, North Africa
7 Apr 2022
In the long term, the [Western Sahara] independence movement's diplomatic margin of maneuver is getting ever more narrow. AFP

Riccardo Fabiani

Project Director, North Africa
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

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