Washington D.C - Images of happy and welcoming locals during King Mohammed VI recent visit to the Saharan city of Laayoune should have been circulated around the world to showcase how Sahrawis feel about the Moroccan monarch. Yet no Moroccan embassy seems to have taken on this task.
Washington D.C – Images of happy and welcoming locals during King Mohammed VI recent visit to the Saharan city of Laayoune should have been circulated around the world to showcase how Sahrawis feel about the Moroccan monarch. Yet no Moroccan embassy seems to have taken on this task.
Moroccan diplomats’ lack of initiative, imagination and loss for words are upsetting and pitiable. Rabat inept aptitude will eventually lead to Morocco losing, yet again, another golden moment to settle the long-standing Algerian-Moroccan conflict over the Western Sahara once for all.
This lethargy is a microcosm of how the Moroccan diplomacy has failed to capitalize on national and international events to solidify Morocco’s positions in the Western Sahara conflict. The King’s visit should have been better advertised on the world scene to underline the Sahrawis’ support for Morocco’s policies in its southern provinces.
Rabat inability to turn its intelligence assistance to France and Belgium, its immigration policy backing Spain, and its diplomatic efforts in Libya into a solid international support for Morocco’s position on the Western Sahara at the United Nations is a foreign policy failure.
Aside from the Royal visit, Sahrawis’ massive voting in the latest local election was precisely the occasion that Moroccan diplomats should have used to remake the image of the Kingdom presence in the southern provinces. Yet, no major foreign newspapers reported on the event while Rabat understated the importance and the significance of this political juncture.
It is time for different approach. The palpable sense that came in the wake of Morocco’s celebration of the Green March is losing steam as diplomats go into a long hibernation while Polisario representatives around the world continue their onslaught despite Algeria’s feeble foreign policy.
Moroccan ambassadors continue to struggle with the question of how to tie the current positive social and political situations in the Western Sahara and the King’s messages to their government’s positions and future plans for the region.
Moroccan foreign affairs’ biggest failure remains its inability to break the myth of Algeria’s enduring ability to frame the Western Sahara conflict as a decolonization case that opposes Polisario to Morocco. The United Nations deep involvement in the conflict was created largely by Morocco’s many missteps in running its foreign policy in places like English speaking Africa and Latin America.
The Moroccan diplomacy should have rendered the King’s November 2015 historic visit into a tool to further the international recognition of the Western Sahara as Moroccan territory. Moroccan diplomats have consistently dropped the ball by not capitalizing on political developments in the region and around the world to seal the issue of who is the true representative of the people of the Western Sahara.
The numbers of people who filled the street of Laayoune is a testament to the ties that bind Moroccan Kings to the people of the Sahara. King Mohammed appearances during the visit, public and private, were indisputable signs that Moroccan Sahrawis support the King. Yet diplomats did not utilize those images to show the world the true feeling of the people of the “Western Sahara”.
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