At a meeting with visiting United nations Secretary general's Personal Envoy for the Sahara, Peter Van Walsum, the leaders of the political parties warned that the non settlement of this conflict threaten the region' and even Europe's security.
Mr. Walsum started a week long visit to the region for "in-depth talks" with the leaders of the visited countries ahead of the fourth round talks between Morocco and the separatists in Manhasset, March 11-13 under the auspices of the United Nations.
After Morocco, the UN envoy will visit the Polisario-run Tindouf camps in southwestern Algeria, before traveling to Algiers and Nouakchott. The two capitals attend the peace negotiations as observers.
Morocco and the Polisario have, so far, held three rounds of talks in Manhasset (New York), in June (18-19), August (10-11) and January (7-9) in conformity with UN Security Council resolution 1754 that called for negotiations "without preconditions" and "in good faith."
The Political parties leaders blamed the current impasse of the talks on the other parties, namely the Polisario and Algeria which continue to reject Morocco’s proposal to grant substantial autonomy to the Sahara. The former Spanish colony was ceded to Morocco in 1975 under the Madrid Accords.
During the meeting held on the occasion of a dinner hosted by Prime Minister Abbas El Fassi in honor of the UN official, and attended by the chairman and the members of the Royal Consultative Council for Sahara Affairs (CORCAS), the political leaders insisted that Morocco aspires to peace and voiced confidence in the UN to find a settlement to the dispute.
Earlier, Mr. Walsum had “cordial talks” with the Prime Minister in the presence of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Minister Taieb Fassi Fihri and Moroccan Ambassador to the UN El Mostafa Sahel.
Mr. Walsum's visit came following the Security Council meeting on Monday on the Sahara issue in which the member states “welcome that the parties reiterated their commitment to show political and negotiate in good faith and agreed on the need to move the process into a more and substantive phase of negotiations under United Nations auspices.”
They also welcomed the recent report of Secretary general Ban Ki-moon in which stressed, among other things, that the "parties' stated positions remained far apart on ways to achieve a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution."
In a statement to MAP following the Council’s meeting, the Moroccan Ambassador to the UN reaffirmed Morocco's readiness to enter into "serious and substantial negotiations" with the other parties, hoping they "grab the historic opportunity" provided by the North African country's autonomy proposal.
News and events concerning Western Sahara issue / Corcas