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Western Sahara

CrisisWatch Western Sahara

Unchanged Situation

Relations between Algeria and Spain continued to deteriorate over Western Sahara, while civil society groups mobilised against Moroccan repression of Sahrawi activists. Algeria 8 June announced suspension of 2002 friendship and cooperation treaty with Madrid, and next day froze bilateral trade operations, citing Spain’s endorsement of Morocco’s autonomy plan for Western Sahara. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell 10 June warned suspension of trade operations might violate EU-Algeria partnership agreement and lead to “retaliatory measures” (see Algeria). Meanwhile, group of NGOs and lawyers 9 June filed several complaints against Morocco with UN Committee Against Torture, denouncing mistreatment and alleged torture of four Sahrawi activists currently in prison in 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
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

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

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.