Western Sahara: Köhler receives Messahel in Berlin

The UN mediator for the Sahara, Horst Köhler, is to receive Thursday in Berlin the Algerian Foreign Minister, Abdelkader Messahel, for talks on the issue of the Moroccan Sahara.

The Personal Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Western Sahara had already received in Berlin delegations of the Polisario and of Mauritania.

On the Moroccan side, nothing has officially filtered so far on the venue of a meeting with the UN mediator.

According to analysts close to the dossier, Rabat did not appreciate the UN mediator’s initiative to involve in his consultations on the Sahara issue the European Union and especially the African Union, which has lost, according to Moroccan authorities, neutrality in this conflict after it accepted the membership of the pseudo-Sahrawi republic “SADR” in 1984.

Köhler’s approach to relaunch the negotiations process is badly perceived in Rabat. Moroccan authorities insist that the Sahara issue settlement must necessarily fall within the exclusive remit of the United Nations and the Security Council to avoid geostrategic conflicts of interest.

Last January, the former German President discussed the Sahara issue with Federica Mogherini, the head of European diplomacy, with Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, with Chairman of the AU Peace and Security Committee, Algerian Smaïl Chergui, and with Chair of the AU Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat.

For Morocco, “the solution is in Algiers” and not elsewhere, since the pseudo “SADR” was created by Algeria, is financed by Algeria and is headquartered in Algeria.

Moreover, in its resolution 2351, the UN Security Council clearly underlined Algeria’s involvement in the Sahara conflict, calling on all neighboring countries to assume their responsibility in the negotiations led by the UN envoy.

Therefore, for Rabat, the ball is in the camp of Horst Köhler who is supposed to rectify the situation so that the negotiations start again on logical and balanced bases. The message has been well received? Hopefully.

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