Rabat – Morocco’s government spokesman, Mustapha El Khalfi, has reiterated Algeria’s responsibility in the Western Sahara conflict, emphasizing that this responsibility is supported by historical facts, data, and positions that date back more than forty years.
After Thursday’s cabinet meeting, El Khalfi told the press that Algeria is responsible for several issues, including the founding of the separatist front, and the continued representation the Polisario at the African Union.
El Khalfi also condemned Algeria’s provision of arms, financing, and accommodation to the separatists, deploring Algeria’s hostilities to undermine Morocco’s territorial and national integrity at the international level.
According to El Khalfi, Algeria’s position is contradictory to its claims of defending the right to self-determination and exposes an intention to undermine the territorial integrity of the country, adding that the Moroccan people, under the leadership of King Mohammed VI, have been firmly facing this hostility.
El Khalfi also referred to Algeria’s position in opposition to former UN Personal Envoy Peter Van Walsum, who characterized the Western Sahara independence as unrealistic, emphasizing that an “independent Western Sahara is not an attainable goal.” His statement angered Polisario and its main supporters, including South Africa and Algeria.
In 2008, Van Walsum also expressed his support for Morocco’s Autonomy Plan, noting that it is the right way to end the conflict.
On April 4, King Mohammed VI addressed a letter to the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, calling on Algeria to fully shoulder its responsibility in the search for a solution to the regional conflict.
“It is Algeria that hosts, arms, backs up, and brings diplomatic support for the Polisario,” said the King in his letter, which was personally delivered to the UNSG by Morocco’s Foreign Affairs Minister Nasser Bourita in New York.
Algeria, however, has been denying and ignoring its responsibility, claiming that it should not cooperate in finding a solution for the regional conflict.
During an interview given to French TV channel France 24, Algeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdelkader Messahel said that Morocco “claims” that the Western Sahara conflict is “a matter between Algeria and Morocco, whereas it is not the case. It is a case between Morocco and the Sahrawi people, and between Morocco and the decisions of the United Nations.”
“Negotiations” on this situation have always been between “the Polisario representatives and Morocco, it will not change,” he claimed.
Over the past months, Polisario’s escalation in the east Morocco’s defense wall has intensified tensions in the region, with Morocco calling on the UN and the Security Council to pressure the separatist group to withdraw from the region.
Morocco has also warned that its army militias will not hesitate to repel any further escalation from the Algeria-backed Polisario Front.
Earlier this week, an Algerian military plane crashed while it was on its way to the Tindouf camps, laying bare Algeria’s deep involvement in the Western Sahara dispute. Among the 257 people who were killed in the crash, 26 people were Polisario members.