The failure of the U.S. approach to include human rights monitoring in the MINURSO mandate has thrown the ball in the court of the Polisario and Algeria.
The comment came in a long story entitled “Western Sahara: Morocco still keeps control” that was published by French magazine “Le Point” in its latest release.
“American gaucheness was about to stir up conflict between Morocco and Algeria,” but King Mohammed VI and President Francois Hollande “have blown the whistle ending the playtime.”
In the showdown that momentarily opposed the Moroccan and American diplomacy as to the nature of the MINURSO mandate, King Mohammed VI “personally took the issue up and showed his irritation by cancelling the joint Moroccan-US military drills that were scheduled for April,” the French weekly wrote.
The other members of the Group of Friends of the Sahara (Great Britain, Spain, Russia and France) have finally distanced themselves from the U.S. initiative.
Referring to a statement by Malian Foreign Affairs Minister Tieman Coulibaly who had confirmed early February the presence of Polisario fighters on the Malian front, the weekly pointed out that Western powers did not want to destabilize a bit more an already fragile region (Sahel-Sahara) where “Morocco stands out as an island of stability.”
Besides, in a resolution adopted unanimously on April 25, 2013, the UN Security Council reaffirmed the primacy of the autonomy initiative proposed by Morocco.
The remarks made by President Francois Hollande during his visit to Morocco early April were of equal importance as he reaffirmed France’s “firm and unequivocal” backing to the Moroccan autonomy plan, which he described as a “serious and credible basis for a negotiated solution.”
“The ball is now in the court of the Sahrawis and their Algerian ally” underlines the author of the article who wondered if they (Algeria and the Polisario) will “continue to turn a deaf ear” to diplomats and to the conclusions of Peter van Walsum, the former special envoy of the UN Secretary General for the Sahara, who had asserted that “an independent Western Sahara was not a realistic proposition?”