The roundtable between Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania, and the Polisario ended without any hint of a breakthrough, unsurprisingly. The agenda of the meeting was simply for the four delegations to make their remarks on how they see the problem being solved.
Rabat – The Moroccan delegation to the roundtable talks in Geneva most likely reiterated that only the autonomy proposal should be discussed. Polisario has certainly insisted that the referendum for independence should be included as an option. Mauritania is expected to be neutral and perhaps stated that the problem needs to be solved for the sake of a Maghreb Union.
The Algerians have undoubtedly held their usual stance that Morocco should adhere to international legality and allow for a referendum which includes independence as an option.
The UN envoy, Horst Kohler, told reporters that a peaceful solution to the conflict is possible.
A solution is possible of course, but only if the current Algerian regime wants to end its financial, political, diplomatic, and military support of Polisario. Let’s not fool ourselves with these UN meetings. Forcing Algeria to be part of the roundtable will not bring an end to the conflict.
As a matter of fact, Algeria had insisted before and after the roundtable that they attended only as observers. An observer is just that and is not under any pressure to contribute to a solution. That is a primary reason why these UN talks will never succeed. It is no secret that Polisario is simply a tool for Algeria to use when needed.
Algeria has the last word in choosing if it should continue with the status quo or decide that it is time to work with Morocco on a peace plan. All signs indicate that Algeria is not interested in doing so. The refusal to reply to the Moroccan monarch’s proposal for peace is a clear sign that it is not how they see the solution to the conflict.
Many believe that Algeria is simply stubborn and refuses to make peace. But that’ i not the case. The Western Sahara conflict is a raison d’etre for the current regime. If the conflict ends, the regime will be deprived of its livelihood, and it will no longer be able to sell the pretext to the Algerian people that they are arming themselves to the teeth to deter an invasion from the Moroccans.
A solution will only come if the Algerian people are somehow able to change course and say loud and clear that they can no longer be governed by octogenarians from another era, put in place a democratically elected government, and not one created in the presidential palace run by none other than the brother of the very ill president of Algeria Abdelaziz Bouteflika.
Right after the roundtable ended, Moroccan foreign minister Nasser Bourita already sensed that the Algerians are not contributing positively, which led him to stress that “it is not enough … a good atmosphere should be translated into a genuine will” to change the situation. “This momentum will have an end if there is no political will,” he warned.
The next planned roundtable will be challenging for the Moroccans. It will have to advance beyond simple remarks and a fake friendly atmosphere. That is something the Algerians will not make any effort to accomplish, because they do not have to.
Morocco should redouble its efforts to convince the international community that the only way towards ending this conflict is the direct involvement of Algeria in the political process. Without a clear definition of what the UN needs to achieve from the Geneva talks and what its parameters are, the talks will end up producing the same effects as the nine informal talks held under the auspices of the former UN personal envoy, Christopher Ross.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy.