Sahara: « lack of progress » in UN process criticized in Washington

Morocco made the right decision when it withdrew its confidence in the UN mediator for the Sahara, Christopher Ross. This view is upheld in Washington, as the UN-led negotiations process did not score any substantial progress and therefore stirs anxiety at two levels. On the one hand, the settlement of the Western Sahara conflict, which is very costly to the UNO, is being far delayed and, on the other hand, some suspicious activities in the refugee camps of Tindouf risk destabilizing the whole Sahara-Sahel region. This time the warning alarm is sounded from Capitol Hill.
The chairperson of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, actually underlined the “lack of progress” in the negotiations process sponsored by the United Nations Organization for the settlement of the Western Sahara conflict and voiced “concern” over the issue.

In a letter to Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen does not mince her words asserting that “the prolonged UN-sponsored negotiations to find a way out to the Sahara conflict failed to make any substantial progress”. Meanwhile, she said, “the situation is becoming more and more precarious in the camps of Tindouf where some activities are likely to lead to instability in the region”. The purpose of the UN-led negotiations was “to reach a just, fair and long-lasting settlement of this conflict “, she said.
This solution is the very backbone of the Morocco-proposed Autonomy Plan in the Sahara under Moroccan sovereignty, which “aims at promoting regional integration and at protecting the interests of the United States in the region”, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said. In her letter to the Secretary of State, the House Foreign Affairs Committee chairwoman urges her country to conduct “new moves” to pressure the UN to end the deadlock, to solve the problem of the populations living in the Tindouf camps and to reduce the costs of the UN activities related to the Sahara issue.

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