Rabat, August 26, 2012 (MAP)
Rabat, August 26, 2012 (MAP)
It is time to raise awareness about the need to close the Sahara conflict and improve the Moroccan autonomy proposal to resolve the issue, said William Zartman, professor at Johns Hopkins University of Washington, specialist in conflict management.
In an interview broadcasted Saturday by the radio station “Medi1,” William Zartman said that this conflict, which has lasted for some time, entered a new phase with the Moroccan autonomy proposal, which was applauded by the U.N. Security Council and preferred to the solution of referendum proposed for years.
“It is time to discuss, especially with the polisario and Algeria, the details and modalities of implementation of the idea of autonomy,” he insisted.
Zartman recalled, in this respect, the publication, two years ago, of booklet signed notably by former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and other personalities of the Department of State and academia, saying that the best solution is to declare an open period for negotiating the details of autonomy, and proceed thereafter to the recognition of autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty.
It emphasizes that “it would allow the Sahrawis, from any political color, a self-governance in the context of decentralization provided for in the Moroccan Constitution.”
Addressing the issue of human rights, which has been politicized and instrumentalized by some parties, Zartman felt that this aspect should be taken into account “in the western part of Algeria and the Tindouf camps.”
If there is concern about human rights and other aspects of well-being of the population, he added, it should be focused on the need to end this conflict () and the implementation of the autonomy solution.
Regarding the potential impact of the positioning of the new U.S. administration on the resolution of the Sahara conflict, Zartman stressed that if any administration has its policy, the U.S. position remains unchanged in this regard.
“Hilary Clinton has even added a third word in American judgment, that the autonomy proposal is serious, credible and realistic,” he said about it, claiming that the U.S. administration is based on the work of the Personal Envoy of the U.N. Secretary General for the Sahara, Christopher Ross who said he is working to build trust.
“Unfortunately, continued Zartman, after 9 rounds, no progress was recorded and the discussion process has stagnated. It is necessary to give a boost, and I think it’s time to start the implementation of the idea of autonomy.”
He also said that the Algerian president, who has distinguished himself as a man of peace in the region in 2000 being the mediator in the conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea, would gain to complete its mandate as a man of peace in North Africa in promoting a solution to the conflict in the context of what has been accepted by the U.N. and the Security Council, that is to say the autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty.