Rabat – On Tuesday, the United Nations officially confirmed that the UNSG Personal Envoy, Horst Kohler, sent invitations to the parties involved in the Western Sahara conflict in hopes of opening another round of negotiations and “bilateral discussions” in Berlin.
The confirmation was announced in a daily press briefing issued on Tuesday by Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres
“We confirm that the Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General on Western Sahara, Horst Kohler, intends to hold bilateral discussions with the parties and neighbouring countries this January and February.”
No specific date was proposed for the meeting in the press briefing. Kohler has invited to Mauritania and Algeria to the table, two countries that have been supporting the front and its ideologies.
“[Kohler] has addressed invitations to the Moroccan Foreign Minister, Nasser Bourita, the Secretary-General of the Frente Polisario, Brahim Ghali, as well as the Algerian and Mauritania’s Ministers of Foreign Affairs.”
Earlier this week, Moroccan newspaper Akhbar Al Yaoum reported that the separatist front requested a meeting with Kohler at the camps of Tindouf on January 24 and 26. However, Kohler instead hopes to gather all the involved parties in Germany.
Morocco and the Polisario last met in January 2008 in New York, when a series of talks, dubbed “the Manhasset negotiations,” occurred.
Akhbar Al Yaoum added that, while the idea of direct negotiations is welcomed by the separatist group, Morocco seems “reluctant” to meet with the same front that has been carrying provocative actions in the Guerguerat buffer zone since December 2017.
The UN invitations came just a few days after Polisario’s most recent provocative actions in the buffer zone. Both Morocco and the UN expressed their condemnation over the illegal armed actions by Polisario, emphasizing that such actions would undermine peace negotiations between the parties.
Earlier this month, Kohler held talks with African Union Commission chairperson Mussa Faki Mahamat and Rwanda’s President, Paul Kagame about the Western Sahara conflict. Kohler aims to devise a new vision and strategies to end the conflict.
To this ends, Kohler hopes to provide the African Union with the opportunity to propose solutions that could help resolve the conflict permanently.