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Morocco Invites UNSG’s Personal Envoy to “Examine Details” of Negotiations over Western Sahara

Morocco Invites UNSG’s Personal Envoy to “Examine Details” of Negotiations over Western Sahara
REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

Rabat – At Morocco’s invitation, Personal Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General Horst Kohler is expected to visit the country on Friday, February 16, for talks with Moroccan officials about the Western Sahara conflict.

Morocco has reportedly sent an invitation to Kohler to discuss details of the future negotiations over the Western Sahara conflict. The invitation aims to examine thoroughly the details of the upcoming negotiations, according to an unidentified diplomat quoted by Moroccan newspaper Akhbar Al Yaoum.

Kohler is set to meet with officials of the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation to discuss his vision and his proposals that would help end the four-decade-long conflict over the region.

Kohler, who sent invitations to the parties to the conflict in January, hopes to devise a new vision and strategies to find a mutually acceptable solution to end the conflict.

In January, Kohler held talks in Addis Ababa with the African Union Commission Chairperson Mussa Faki Mahamat and Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame about the Western Sahara conflict. The Personal Envoy hopes to provide the African Union with the opportunity to propose solutions that could help resolve the conflict permanently.

El Moussaoui El Ajlaoui, a Moroccan political observer and an expert of African affairs told Akhbar El Yaoum that “the rules of negotiations should be made in Morocco and not in Brussels, Berlin, or Addis Ababa, because Morocco is a major part of the conflict.”

According to El Ajlaoui, Morocco will refuse the UN’s vision to involve other parties in the conflict, considering it a lobby against Morocco.

Kohler’s meetings with the African leaders came four days after his official meeting with the EU’s High Representative Federica Mogherini, in Brussels on January 9. During the meeting, the two high officials “exchanged views on the relaunch of the UN peace process for Western Sahara,” according to an official statement by the European Union External Action.

A few weeks after his African-European visits, Kohler sent invitations to Morocco, Mauritania, the Polisario, and its supporter, Algeria for “indirect negotiations,” a move highly welcomed by the separatist front and its supporter. However, Morocco denied any direct or indirect negotiations with the front due to the continuous provocative actions carried out in the region.

Despite Morocco’s absence from the negotiations table, Kohler has received a delegation of the Polisario Front, led by the separatist group leader, Ibrahim Ghali in Berlin, Germany.

On Thursday, February 8, the UNSG Personal Envoy also held consultations on the Sahara issue with a Mauritanian delegation led by Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Isselkou Ould Ahled Izid Bih.

The meeting with the Mauritanian delegation was attended by Mauritania’s advisor to the presidency, Mohamed Lemine Ould Dadde, and Jaroullah Inallah, director of international cooperation at the Foreign Ministry, reported Mauritania’s official news agency, AMI.

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