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Western Sahara

CrisisWatch Western Sahara

Unchanged Situation

Morocco continued to secure greater international support for its Western Sahara autonomy plan. Polisario Front independence movement representative to Spain, Abdullah Arabi, 7 May called on Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez to “rectify” position on Western Sahara, claiming Madrid’s endorsement in March of Rabat’s autonomy plan for disputed territory leads Spain “away from international legality”. Meanwhile, Rabat and Madrid continued to mend ties, notably reopening land borders between Morocco and Spain’s enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla mid-May. Dutch govt 11 May expressed support for Morocco’s autonomy plan for Western Sahara, calling it “serious and credible contribution” to the UN-led political process to resolve Western Sahara dispute. Turkish govt also 11 May stated support for Morocco’s “sovereignty and territorial integrity”; next day, however, said support only extends to “internationally recognised borders”.

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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.