Western Sahara: Blackout on Christopher Ross’s Talks in Rabat

Salaheddine Mezouar marked the beginning of his position as Morocco’s new Foreign Minister by talks on the Western Sahara issue.
The leader of the National Rally of Independents (RNI), appointed to the position just last week, had a meeting with the UN mediator for the Sahara, Christopher Ross, in Rabat on Monday.
The personal envoy of the UN Secretary General for the Sahara also met with the speakers of the two chambers of the Moroccan Parliament, Mohamed Cheikh Biadillah and Karim Ghellab. But no details on the contents of talks were disclosed.

It seems that the UN envoy, whose mission looks rather delicate, does not want to make any statement on the outcome of his consultations with the various parties to the conflict before the end of his tour in the region.
In any case, Ross will submit to the Security Council a detailed report on the results of his mission at the end of the current month.
The UN Secretary General’s envoy started his new mediation mission in the Western Sahara conflict last week in Tunis. After Rabat, he will visit the Moroccan southern provinces and will then head to Nouakchott. He will end up his tour by visits to Algiers and to the Tindouf camps.
According to analysts, it is after his visit to the Algerian capital that the UN mediator would know whether he made any progress in his mediation mission or not.
Geo-strategic issues pundits convene that the key to the conflict settlement is in the hands of Algerian authorities.
Without the financial, logistical and diplomatic support of Algeria, which hosts the Sahrawi refugee camps, the separatist Polisario Front will be doomed to extinction, these pundits say.
Now, the outstanding question is whether Algerian authorities are genuinely willing to end the long lasting conflict which is placing a heavy burden on their budget and on the budget of neighboring Morocco, which is preventing the normalization of Algerian-Moroccan relations and which is hampering the whole process of the Maghreb integration.


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