Morocco World News
Morocco World News
New York, June 6, 2011
At the invitation of UNSG’s personal envoy Christopher Ross, negotiations between Morocco and the the Polisario Front, resumed Monday in Manhasset, a suburb in New York.
UN special envoy Christopher Ross is attending the negotiations, along with representatives from Algeria and Mauritania.
As in previous occasions, the two parties would examine potential measures for reconciliation and confidence-building with the aim of making real progress towards putting an end to this 36-year-long conflict.
The informal talks, which started in August 2009 in Austria, aim to prepare the ground for the fifth round of direct negotiations between the two parties.
Six previous rounds of talks over the Sahara, the last of which was held in Malta in March, have ended without any tangible progress.
In late April, the UN Security Council renewed the UN peace mission (MINURSO) in the Sahara for another year.
The conflict over the Sahara came to the fore in the mid 1970s, after Morocco regained its control over this territory, which was under Spanish rule since 1884.
The Polisario Front, which is supported by Algeria claims to be the legitimate representative of the Saharaouis, and, as such, calls for a referendum of self-determination to decide for the fate of this territory. Morocco, which considers the Sahara as an integral part of its territory has presented an Autonomy Plan in 2007 that offers greater autonomy with a local government and parliament. The said Autonomy Plan has been qualified by many veto-wielding countries as a “credible” and “serious” plan that can serve as basis for negotiations over the political future of the this territory.
On April 27th, the United Nations Security Council adopted resolution 1979 in which the members of the Council urged the two parties (Morocco and the Polisario) to step up efforts in order to reach a mutually accepted solution over the Sahara dispute