By Said Temsamani
By Said Temsamani
Morocco World News
Washington, February 13, 2013
In a sign of the Polisario’s deepening isolation at the international level, the separatist movement was recently dealt a diplomatic blow when the government of Barbados decided to withdraw its recognition of the so-called Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic known by its French acronym as RASD. Self-proclaimed in 1976, the entity has never been recognized by the United Nations, any European state, the United States, nor Canada. Today, some of the African and South American countries that had recognized it as a “Republic on paper” during the cold war era have started reconsidering their decision.
RASD was established at a time when, in the political developments of the 1960’s and 70s of the last century, Algeria and the now toppled Qadhafi regime tried by all means to weaken Morocco, which they regarded as pro-Western and represented a political system that they were diametrically opposed to. By harboring the separatist Polisario Front and providing it with arms and money, those two governments tried to impose a fabricated republic on the international community.
Now, 37 years after the proclamation of RASD, increasingly more international stakeholders have come to the conclusion that it is not realistic to establish a state that does not have the characteristics of a viable state over the medium or long-term. More countries are aware that the Western Sahara problem is in fact a regional conflict, and a result of Cold War friction. The African and Latin-American countries that had previously recognized the so-called republic have thus started withdrawing their recognition. In all, during the last decade, more than 30 countries have recanted their decision taken at times of upheaval. This hemorrhage of recognition weakens the Polisario, which is increasingly coming under the pressure of the international community. This will foreseeably help in putting an end to the Sahara conflict.
An increasing number of international observers and diplomats have called on the United Nations to hasten its process aimed at finding a long-lasting and mutually acceptable solution to the Sahara conflict and build on the Autonomy Plan presented by Morocco to Security Council in April 2007. The plan, which was described by members of the Security Council in several resolutions as “serious” and “credible” is considered by many as a middle ground solution that save face for both Morocco and the Polisario. The plan would enable the Saharawi population to run its affairs and elect an assembly, while remaining under Moroccan sovereignty.
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