UN envoy Christopher Ross resigned early March having made little progress in resolving conflict since 2009; UNSG Guterres to appoint new envoy in April. AU expressed “regret” that Morocco did not attend AU’s Peace and Security Council meeting on Western Sahara 20 March. Conference of African finance ministers due to start 27 March in Senegal, co-hosted by AU and UN Economic Commission for Africa, postponed 25 March after Morocco demanded exclusion of Western Sahara, AU member, but not UN member state.
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.
Originally published in Al Hayat
Originally published in The Wall Street Journal Europe