The US undersecretary for political affairs has hailed Morocco’s dialogue offer to Algeria, saying warmer diplomatic ties will be key to regional stability and security.
Rabat – David Hale made the remarks yesterday in a meeting with Habib El Malki, speaker of the Moroccan House of Representatives.
Hale extensively commented on the US position on the ongoing UN-led initiative to broker a lasting and mutually acceptable political settlement in the four decade-long diplomatic stalemate in Western Sahara.
The general sentiment in Washington, according to the American diplomat, is that a possible rapprochement between Rabat and Algiers could lead to important overtures both in terms of regional security and in reaching a permanent solution in the territorial dispute in Western Sahara.
Dialogue is the only way forward as both countries face similar security and social challenges, Hale noted. He saluted Morocco’s dialogue offer to Algeria, pointing out that sustainable settlement will only be possible when stakeholders are ready to sit at the negotiating table and compromise on old grievances.
For his part, El Malki put forward the Morocco-US relations, underlining that Rabat has been a robust American ally on terrorism and other security matters. He said Morocco has steadily partnered in America’s fight against terror and transnational criminal networks, establishing itself as the unfailing regional bastion of security and political stability.
“Morocco is a security and stability haven in a troubled region,” the Moroccan parliamentarian said.
Of Morocco’s Sahara position, El Malki reiterated King Mohammed VI’s dialogue offer, hinting at the kingdom’s readiness to “support the UN-led initiative” and engage “in frank dialogue” with Algiers and other concerned parties.
A premonition of failure in Geneva?
Hale and El Malki’s meeting comes just a week before the unprecedented UN-led roundtable scheduled December 5-6 in Geneva. Algeria, Mauritania, Morocco, and the Polisario Front have said they will attend the Geneva meeting.
On the 43rd anniversary of the Green March earlier this month, King Mohammed VI made the unprecedented move of offering “a frank dialogue” opportunity to discuss the sour Rabat-Algiers relations.
The Moroccan monarch said that it was time for both countries to put aside decades-long grievances towards each other to allow for a paradigm shift in bilateral ties and proxy confrontation in the Sahara conflict.
Morocco’s offer has since received a series of supportive statements from foreign diplomats, world leaders, and international organizations.
For all the international fervor, however, Algiers has remained characteristically silent, resurging old doubts about the prospects of the upcoming UN-led discussion.
As Morocco’s extended hand remains ignored by Algeria, it remains to be seen whether the much-anticipated Geneva meeting can prove critical to the international community’s hoped-for diplomatic overtures.