Morocco urges Security Council to end confusion over Western Sahara

“This is a time for clarity. This ambivalence in terms of ceasefire, political process, support for MINURSO and support for UN exclusivity must be addressed by the Security Council”, Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita said.
Tuesday 06/04/2021
Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita delivers a speech at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, March 22, 2019. (AFP)
Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita delivers a speech at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, March 22, 2019. (AFP)

DAKHLA, Morocco – Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita called on the UN Security Council Monday to determine who is responsible for the violation of the ceasefire and the blocking of the political process to find a solution to the Western Sahara conflict.

“The Security Council must determine, in all objectivity, who violates the ceasefire on a daily basis and who has proclaimed its end, on the one hand, and on the other, who is committed to this ceasefire and who announced it at the highest level,” said Bourita during a joint news conference with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Senegalese Expatriates Aissata Tall Sall, during the opening by Senegal of a consulate general in Dakhla.

The status of Western Sahara, which the United Nations classifies as a “non-self-governing territory”, has for decades pitted Morocco against the Algeria–backed Polisario Front.

Bourita insisted that the “confusion must end, for the Security Council and the international community, between the one who is committed to the ceasefire and the one who breaks it, the one who supports the political process and the one who uses manoeuvres.”

Bourita stressed that Morocco does not oppose the appointment of a UNSG Personal Envoy, noting that the kingdom has responded favourably to this latest proposal.

“Who is obstructing the process of appointing a Personal Envoy?” he asked.

“It is necessary to define the responsibilities, to determine who plays a constructive role, who works seriously and shows clarity in the positions, and who manipulates, manoeuvres and contradicts itself through its words and deeds. Who works under the aegis of the United Nations and seeks to involve other organisations, which do not want it, in the UN process,” he noted, considering that ”these contradictions must end.”

“If the matter is in the hands of the United Nations, who then tries to involve the African Union in it ? ” he wondered.

“This is a time for clarity. This ambivalence in terms of ceasefire, political process, support for MINURSO ( the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara) and support for UN exclusivity must be addressed by the Security Council”, the minister said.

Bourita said that anyone who wants to sit down at the table to find a solution within the framework of the autonomy plan is welcome … otherwise he can keep disseminating quibbles and ambivalence, assuring that “Morocco will continue its serious action to reaffirm the Moroccanness of the Sahara on the ground and through diplomacy and not through delusions and lies.”

“If the real party, which is Algeria, shows seriousness, Morocco is then ready, but if it is a question of manoeuvre and manipulation, the Kingdom will continue its process of reaffirming the Moroccanness of the Sahara”, he said, recalling that the number of consulates general in the southern provinces stands at 21.

The minister also noted the opening of two other consulates in these provinces confirms that “the Moroccanness of the Sahara is an ongoing and irreversible process.”

Bourita said that Morocco considers that what has been achieved, under the leadership of King Mohammed VI, diplomatically and on the ground are “accomplishments that must be invested in finding a solution, and that is for this reason that the kingdom has worked for the resolution of this conflict within the sole framework of the autonomy plan.”

Bourita on Monday rejected direct negotiations with the Polisario, in response to a call at the weekend from his Algerian counterpart Sabri Boukadoum.

“Algeria…. is a direct party to the conflict… It should take responsibility for finding a solution,” Bourita said.

Four-way negotiations between Morocco, the Polisario, Algeria and Mauritania have been stalled since UN envoy Horst Kohler resigned in May 2019.

Morocco claims the entire territory and controls 80 percent, with a huge sand berm and UN peacekeepers separating a Polisario-held enclave in the east.

The peacekeepers are mandated to organise a long-stalled referendum on self-determination.

In November, the Polisario announced it regarded a 1991 ceasefire as null and void, after Morocco sent troops to reopen a key road, captured by the separatists.