Morocco World News
Morocco World News
New York, February 24, 2012
The United Nations plans to host the ninth informal negotiations between the Polisario and the Moroccan government from March 11 through March 13, a UN spokesperson said Friday.
The talks were initially scheduled to take place in February, but has been postponed until the first half of March. In an interview given to the daily newspaper Attajdid on February 17, Youssef Al Amrani, Minister delegate for Foreign Affairs, said the postponement of the talks is due to the heavy agenda of concerned parties.
During these upcoming negotiations, “the parties will (…) further discuss the new ideas put forward by the Secretary-General (…) associated with governance, such as environment and natural resources as well as demining,” the UN spokesperson said.
As during the previous talks, representatives from Algeria and Mauritania plan to join the talks between the Polisario Front and the Moroccan government.
The Moroccan government and the Polisario Front agreed to a ceasefire in 1991, but still have not resolved their differences.
UN resolutions call for a self-determination referendum, but Morocco has agreed only to offer greater autonomy to the Sahara.
Over the past two years, Morocco and the Polisario have held 8 informal rounds of negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations Secretary General’s Special Envoy, Christopher Ross. The last round of negotiations was held on July in New York. All of these negotiations have ended without any progress.
In April 2007, Morocco presented an Autonomy Plan that was described as “serious and credible” by the Security Council. The said plan proposes significant autonomy for the Sahara with a local government and a parliament, within the Moroccan sovereignty.
The Polisario Front, supported by Algeria, rejects the Moroccan plan and claims the people of the Sahara have a right to self-determination through a referendum.
Many analysts voice their concern that the current informal negotiations over the future of the Sahara are leading nowhere and that the Security Council ought to adopt a new approach in order to put an end to this long-lasting dispute.
Over the past decade, many observers have stated that an independent Saharawi State cannot be envisaged as a “realistic option”. This was the message conveyed by the spokesman of the American Department of State on April 30th, 2008 before the UN Security Council, on the occasion of the vote of resolution S/RES/1813.
Similarly, in an interview given to the Spanish newspaper El Pais, the former Personal Envoy of the UN Secretary General for the Sahara, Peter Walsum, stated that the establishment of a Sahrawi State is not an “accessible objective”.
Back in 2000, in his report to the Security Council on the Situation in the Sahara (S/2000/461) Kofi Annan, then Secretary General of the United Nations, stated that it is essential that the parties be “prepared to consider other ways of achieving an early, durable and agreed resolution” over their dispute over the Sahara.