By Majid Morceli
By Majid Morceli
San Francisco – Christopher Ross just finished his tour to the region and one thing is sure; he will no longer be allowed to flirt with plans outside the scope for his mission for two important reasons.
1- The UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon gave the king of Morocco “firm assurances as to the neutrality, objectivity, and impartiality of UN officials” in the issue of what’s called the Western Sahara.
Moroccan officials interpret the terms used by the secretary general as a new road map the UN intends to follow, and want to give a peace a chance and hence allowed Mr. Ross to visit Morocco.
2- The King of Morocco made a speech during the anniversary of the Green March in which he stated that the Sahara is in Morocco, and it will remain part of Morocco until the end of time. He said that the only way out of the conflict imposed on Morocco by the Algerian military regime, the main party in the conflict, who should be present at the negotiating table, is the autonomy proposal.
Anything the UN envoy will try without considering the above will be a waste of his and everyone’s time, and he might as well throw in the towel similarly to how his predecessors have done in the past.
The Moroccans have done well to emphasize that any deviation from what was agreed upon in 1991 will mean the end of MINURSO. It is in UN interest that the scope of the Mission be confined; extending it will only benefit those who financially benefit from the Mission through organized theft. The latest report from the EU corruption watchdog OLAF about embezzlement of funds by the Algerian regime is a clear-cut example.
After meeting with all parties, it looks like this time the UN envoy has decided to make his tour a listening one and not reveal any future plans or decisions, and that’s the reason we have not heard or seen any leaks. Some in the Moroccan press speculate that Mr. Ross has asked the Polisario to accept either the autonomy plan or federalism, which is a system of government in which power is divided between a central government and various regional governments.
These speculations are not out of line and could very well be valid, which explains why the very ill Algerian president and his prime and foreign ministers all met with the UN envoy. This is unusual. They also asked the Polisario leader to report to El Moradia as soon as possible to discuss “the latest developments of the Sahrawi question internally and at the UN level.”
These events are uncommon and clearly indicate that the Algerian regime is panicking. They want to make sure that the Polisario does not deviate from their call for independence.
We are about two months away from a UN report, which will be presented to the Security Council, and Moroccan officials need to be more pro active and steer away from wait-and-see mode. OLAF had corrected itself and presented Morocco with an opportunity to show the world that the reason Algeria does not want the Census to take place in the Tindouf camps is simply and purely theft. Moroccans need to make sure that this item is included in the upcoming UN report. It will show that ending the conflict is not in the Algerian regime’s interest. The end of conflict means that the regime’s bank account will dwindle.
Let us be honest with ourselves. No matter what Morocco, the UN, or even the Polisario do or don’t, the key to peace is in the halls of EL Moradia, the Algerian presidential palace, and the DRS (Departement du Renseignement et de la Securite).
The Polisario are irrelevant in this conflict without the Algerians, and unless the UN brings Algeria to the table, there will never be peace. It simply does not make sense that Morocco is negotiating with an entity that reports to the Algerian regime, the main party in the conflict thus being outside the room. Christopher Ross is a shrewd diplomat and he must know this fact, and I am not sure what he’s hoping to accomplish without bringing Algeria to the table. I would not be surprised if he quits after his upcoming report. He has a past with Algeria as the US ambassador and he should not have been selected for the job in the first place.
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