Home News UN Western Sahara Envoy Meets King Mohammed VI in Rabat

UN Western Sahara Envoy Meets King Mohammed VI in Rabat

UN Western Sahara Envoy Meets King Mohammed VI in Rabat

Rabat – Horst Köhler, the United Nations Secretary General’s Personal Envoy to Western Sahara, met with King Mohammed VI on Tuesday in the royal palace in Rabat.

Köhler arrived in Morocco on Sunday as part of his first visit to the region since he was appointed as the Western Sahara envoy in August.

The former German president took over from American diplomat Christopher Ross, whom Morocco accused of bias towards Algeria and Polisario.

A statement from the royal palace noted that the King’s advisor Fouad Ali El Himma, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita, and David Schwake, Köhler’s special advisor, also took part in the meeting.

The envoy has had a busy schedule in Morocco. On Tuesday he was received by the Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani, and he also met with Bourita on Monday and Tuesday, according to the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The meetings were attended by Morocco’s representative to the UN, Omar Hilale.

The Polisario-run Tindouf camps in Algeria are the second stop in Köhler’s tour, before heading to the Algerian capital. He is due to wrap his visit to the region with a visit to the Mauritanian capital, Nouakchott.

The UN Envoy’s visit came during a persistent stalemate over Western Sahara.

From 2014 up until Ross’s resignation in March and the end of the mandate of former UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, the UN had been seen by Morocco as having deviated from its neutrality as a mediator.

In March 2016, tensions erupted between Morocco and the former UN Secretary General when he referred to Western Sahara as “occupied territories” during a visit to Tindouf.

Things seem different with his successor, Antonio Guterres, whose report in April was interpreted in Morocco as “positive” and “balanced.”

Still, Guterres and his personal envoy will have a hard time succeeding their predecessors failed. Morocco and the Algeria-backed Polisario still stick to their positions as far as the resolution of the four-decade-long conflict is concerned.

Morocco maintains that the Autonomy Proposal is the only option on the table, while Polisario continues to call for the “right” to self-determination.

Moroccan officials still accuse Algeria, without whom Polisario cannot sustain itself, as being a party in the conflict, an accusation that Algeria unconvincingly denies.

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