The daily says that "on the field and at the diplomatic level," it is Rabat that holds all cards in settling the Sahara issue (which has been opposing, since 1976, Morocco to the Algeria-backed "Polisario" separatist movement that lays claims to Morocco southern provinces "the Sahara").
"Today as Moroccan diplomacy has the wind in its sails in the Sahara issue management, the emergence of a dissidence within the Polisario cannot but further weaken the independence movement, which since its self-proclamation as a republic thirty years ago, is till seeking a genuine legitimacy," says the daily editor-in-chief, who notes that "during all this time, Morocco's sovereignty over this territory, which is as large as half France," is irreversible.
The paper says the construction in the 1980's of an "impressive" defense wall by the Moroccan army has "totally annihilated" the capacities of the Polisario movement despite Algeria’s military support.
“Since then,” he says, the separatists “have remained cantoned in Tindouf refugees camps on the Algerian soil,” underlining that “today, Polisario, be it the original or reformist tendency, cannot count but on Algeria’s diplomatic support.”
Highlighting the Sahara provinces development and Morocco’s attachment to peace, the paper recalls that the kingdom has since 1975 launched various development projects for its populations.
“In spite of this,” says the daily, Morocco “has voiced readiness to any United Nations-brokered negotiation that would grant a large autonomy to Sahara under the Moroccan sovereignty,” adding that several African countries “share this vision.”
“It is the case of the Democratic Republic of Congo, whose President, Joseph Kabila has supported any political, consensual, lasting and negotiated settlement to this issue within the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Morocco,” it recalls.
As of the dissidence within the Polisario, the paper notes that Salek Mahjoub, spokesperson of the new movement, is an “apparatchik, knowledgeable of the system, (who) gives an objective balance sheet of the three latest decades of the conflict.”
This man denounces “the current situation of a people exiled, abandoned and exploited by a group of opportunists, accustomed to skullduggeries,” affirming that he respects “dialogue, freedom of expression and assembly, and human rights.”