Former Polisario member Mustapha Salma has said that Resolution 2440 is a lever against Polisario’s maneuvers and plans.
In an interview with Morocco World News, Salma said that the resolution favors Morocco’s position.
Security Council changes equation of Western Sahara conflict
Salma told MWN that the resolution has “condoned everything Morocco is doing in the Saharan regions west of the birm, which has been called occupied territory.” Meanwhile, the resolution restricts Polisario from doing the same activities in Sahrawi areas east of the berm, “an area that Polisario claims as liberated zones.”
Salma argued that Morocco’s position gained a nod internationally, while the separatists’ position has “undergone a tremendous setback in the last three years.”
Salma’s statement refers to the latest point Morocco scored with the European Union. In July, Rabat and Brussels agreed to renew the Morocco-EU fisheries agreement, which the Polisario has long sought to abolish. The EU also ruled that the waters off the Western Sahara could be included in the fisheries agreement.
While explaining how the resolution plays in favor of Morocco, Salma said, “Polisario is not only banned from meeting any foreign representatives outside of the Tindouf camps in Algeria, but they are also urged not to relocate to or construct any facilities in the areas that have been long claimed as ‘liberated zones.’”
He added that Resolution 2440 urges the Polisario to withdraw from the Guerguerat buffer strip, “where they have been staying for two years, claiming that they will not leave until negotiations, as established after the ceasefire agreement, and the inevitable result of shared administration with Morocco or of being controlled by the UN and both parties benefiting from its revenues.”
No escape for Algeria
According to Salma, the resolution has destroyed Polisario’s plans because the Security Council said that the Guerguerat buffer strip is a red line, “and Polisario should not get closer to it.”
He added that the resolution cost Polisario all its cards as they are now left in Tindouf “with a view to the cessation of [Polisario’s] legal political status and to deal with Sahrawi population as refugees and to find solutions to their problems.”
Besides Polisario, the Security Council also sent a clear message to Algeria, which has long claimed itself only an observer to the conflict.
The resolution referred to Algeria as a neighboring country to the conflict and not an observer. Political analyst El Moussaoui El Ajlaoui told Morocco World News there is a huge difference between an observer and a neighboring country.
The resolution called on Algeria to bear responsibility and to work “constructively” with the UN Personal Envoy along with Morocco, Polisario, and Mauritania “to ensure the success” of the UN-led political process.
Salma said that the Security Council is on “the verge of changing the concept of the ‘parties to the conflict’ as the Council started to convey clear messages to Algeria, referring to it as a ‘neighboring country’ and not an observer.”
He speculated that Algeria will be considered a “main party to the conflict” soon.
“And when it will go that far, there will be two equal parties [Algeria and Morocco] who have the right and legitimacy to act.”.
According to the former Polisario member, when Algeria will acknowledge its role in the conflict, “a solution to the conflict which will satisfy all parties to the conflict will be possible. Otherwise, the conflict will go right back to square one.”