Solution to Sahara Conflict is to be found in Algeria, Ana Palacio

Former Spanish Foreign Minister Ana Palacio asserted that “Algeria is the country that holds the key so that the Polisario accepts the Moroccan autonomy plan for the Sahara.”

Speaking at a conference on peace and security, in Rabat Monday, Palacio, currently member of the Spanish Council of State, said, “the Polisario’s strategy is to harm Morocco,” citing as an instance the seizure in Panama and South Africa of vessels carrying phosphate from the Moroccan Sahara.

To resolve the Sahara conflict, all parties concerned, mainly Morocco and the Polisario, as well as neighboring countries, notably Algeria, must commit to a settlement, said Ana Palacio before the conference, organized by the “OCP Policy Center”, a Rabat-based Think Tank.

Ana Palacio, who is also a lecturer at the US Georgetown University, underlined, in a column published at the end of June on the Spanish “Dipublico” website, the need to ponder on the new aggressive campaign staged by the Polisario, which is, she argued, seeking to torpedo the UN-led process for a consensual political settlement of the Western Sahara conflict.

“After the Security Council approved the appeal of Mr. Guterres (UN SG) to resume the negotiation process, the Polisario Front resorted to a civilian court in South Africa for the seizure of a cargo of phosphate extracted in the Sahara territory,” deplored the former Spanish minister.

“A few days later, a similar challenge was launched in Panama against another ship carrying phosphate from Southern Morocco,” she said, noting however that the Panamanian maritime court, aware of the diplomatic and political reasons underlying this case, finally rejected the Polisario’s complaint.

Concluding her presentation, Ana Palacio openly denounced the Polisario’s new tactic “to use civilian courts of third countries in an attempt to hurt Morocco and undermine the UN process.”

The 2-day conference on peace and security brought together 100 personalities from 27 countries, and representatives of 45 foreign and 25 local institutions.

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