Western Sahara: Christopher Ross follows the path of his predecessor Walsum

ross-saharaThe UN Secretary General’s personal envoy for Western Sahara, Christopher Ross, who has tried hard, since his appointment to the position, to find a magic solution to the Western Sahara conflict ended up reaching the same conclusion as his predecessor, the Dutch diplomat Peter Van Walsum.

Van Walsum who was Personal Envoy of the UN Secretary General for the Sahara from July 2005 to January 2009, announced in April 2008 just few months before the end of his mission that “the independence of Western Sahara is not a realistic goal.”

He had then said that “independence may well be out of reach for the Sahrawi people”, calling the Polisario which has been claiming the independence of the disputed territory, for forty years, to be more realistic.

At the time, the Permanent Representative of the United States to the UN, Zalmay Khalilzad, had said that Walsum’s idea “is worth considering.” This man “spent a lot of time working on this issue and he presented candid analyses and suggestions that deserve serious consideration,” the US diplomat had said.

During his latest tour in the area – in February- that led him to Rabat, the Tindouf camps, Algiers and Madrid, Ross has reportedly made the same suggestion to the Polisario leader, Mohamed Abdelaziz, and his cronies. He told them that it was impossible to establish a “state in the Moroccan Sahara.”

The idea stirred the anger of Abdelaziz and his close aides who hastily flew to Algiers to report to their Algerian mentors and ask them to nip the suggestion in the bud.

Although the Ross-Polisario talks took place behind closed doors, their contents were revealed and confirmed by many reliable sources.

A Polisario leader also confirmed, in a statement to the e-journal Hespress, what Ross had said.

According to this leader, Christopher Ross had explained to his interlocutors in the Rabouni camps the many reasons why the establishment of a Sahrawi independent state outside Morocco’s sovereignty was not possible.

If these latest developments in the Western Sahara issue were to be confirmed, they would mark an interesting rebound that is likely to upset the schemes of Algeria and its protégé, the Polisario.