Sahara: Brussels for a mutually acceptable solution

mogheriniThe European Union (EU) has recently renewed support for a “political, just, lasting and mutually acceptable solution” to the Western Sahara conflict.

“The EU is concerned about the persistence of this regional conflict that has lasted too long as well as about its consequences on the security of the region,” the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini said.

Federica Mogherini made the statement in answer to a written question by a Member of the European Parliament about the role the EU can play to help reach a solution to the Sahara conflict.

Mogherini said “the EU will not take any action likely to hinder the settlement process led by the UN.” The EU shall continue to support the efforts of the UN secretary general seeking to reach a lasting solution, she said.

Mogherini’s remarks came at a time the UN envoy for the Sahara, Christopher Ross, is conducting another North Africa tour. He visited the Tindouf camps on September 5 and Algiers on September 20.

The UN mediator, who also made a trip to Madrid, is expected in Rabat shortly, in a new mediation effort to pave the way for a new round of negotiations.

During previous rounds of UN-sponsored talks, Morocco has shown flexibility and gone as far as proposing an autonomy plan for the Sahara under its sovereignty. The other parties, namely the Polisario and its mentor, Algeria, remained stubbornly stuck to their obsolete option, that of organizing a self-determination referendum in the territory.

According to a Rabat-based Spanish analyst, Algeria and the Polisario are fully aware that the self-determination option is unworkable given the morphology and the transhumant or nomadic system of the indigenous population in the disputed Sahara territory which was and is still under the control of the Moroccan administration.

However, the analyst said, the autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty, described as a “serious and credible” proposal by international powers, is the most likely path to lead to a final settlement of the territorial dispute.

Meanwhile, all efforts made by the international community and the UN are dashed by the intransigence of the Algerian regime and its protégé, the Polisario.

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