An official press release said the delegation will include Minister of the Interior Chakib Benmoussa, deputy Foreign Minister Taieb Fassi Fihri, deputy Interior Minister Fouad Ali Al Himma, chairman of the Royal Consultative Council for Saharan Affairs (CORCAS) Khalihenna Ould Errachid, chief of Morocco's intelligence(DGED) Mohamed Yassine Mansouri and Morocco's Ambassador to the U.N El Mostafa Sahel.
The first round of such talks will be held in Manhasset in the outskirts of New York "at the invitation of the U.N Secretary general and in accordance with resolution 1754 of the security Council", the press release said.
Morocco will participate in these negotiations in "good faith and with a firm and sincere political will", the press release insisted, recalling in this respect the Kingdom's proposal to grant the Sahara a substantial autonomy that was welcomed as "serious and credible" by the Security Council and other capitals around the world.
Talks between the two parties held in the past notably in Houston (Texas) London and Berlin failed in reaching a solution to the dispute over the Sahara, a former colony that was ceded by Spain to the North African country in 1975 under the Madrid Accords. However, a year later, the Polisario, backed by Morocco’s eastern neighbor Algeria, started claiming sovereignty over the territory and even waged a war on Morocco which lasted until 1991 when the U.N brokered a ceasefire.
“We deal with the international community with a positive spirit, and it is on this basis that we shall participate in the negotiations," said recently Morocco’s Communication Minister and government spokesman.
The Manhasset talks will held few weeks after a visit to Paris and Madrid by Peter Van Walsum, Personal Envoy of the U.N. Secretary General for the Sahara, who informed the two capitals about the progress achieved in the implementation of the Security Council’s resolution calling upon the parties to enter into negotiations "without preconditions in good faith," with a view to achieving a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution.
“I've urged the parties to enter dialogue without preconditions. I hope that the forthcoming meeting could serve to reach a lasting solution to the issue,” UN chief Ban Ki-moon said last week in Madrid at a news conference with Spain's Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.
“I've urged and hope the parties will see this moment as an opportunity to address their concerns,” Ban said, adding that Mauritania, France and Spain will also monitor the talks.
Echoing him, the Spanish premier said, “if we don't try it again, there will never be a way out to the conflict.”
In its resolution, the Security Council also called upon "the parties and States of the region to continue to cooperate fully with the United Nations and with each other to end the current impasse and to achieve progress towards a political solution", in an allusion to Mauritania and Algeria. The latter, despite its political, diplomatic, financial, logistic and military support to the separatists, has always denied any involvement in the dispute. An argument that is not shared by Mr. Walsum who, in statement to MAP bureau in New York in April 20, insisted that Algeria plays a "preeminent and dominant role" in the Sahara issue.
“Algeria has in this whole dossier (Sahara issue) played an absolutely preeminent, dominant role ever since 1975,” said the Senior UN official following a closed hearing of the Council on the Sahara issue.