UN Security Council 9 April adopted resolution on Western Sahara peace process following closed-door meeting, reiterating previous resolutions’ commitment to negotiations. Prior to meeting, Polisario Front independence movement requested Security Council address absence of UN special envoy for Western Sahara; post vacant since Horst Köhler resigned in May 2019. Polisario’s UN representative Sidi Mohamed Omar 18 April said UN process is in “total paralysis”.
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