The first roundtable on the Western Sahara conflict took place December 5-6 in Geneva.
Rabat – The personal envoy of the UN Secretary-General, Horst Kohler, is likely to start meeting with the parties involved in the Western Sahara conflict before the second roundtable on the dispute, which is set to take place next month.
The “official” news agency of the self-proclaimed Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) reported that Kohler will meet with Polisario in Berlin in early March “in preparation for the second roundtable to be held in Switzerland next month.”
The separatist news platform added that the agenda of the meeting has not been defined, according to a source close to the dossier.
Kohler convened the parties involved in the conflict—Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania, and Polisario—around the same roundtable discussion December 5-6, 2018.
All parties expressed their satisfaction with the first roundtable. Kohler also expressed hope that a solution to end the conflict is possible.
Less than a month after the roundtable, however, the Polisario Front started conducting illegal maneuvers in Western Sahara, especially east of Morocco’s defense wall.
In response, the Moroccan government warned that Polisario’s activities might hamper the UN-led political process to find a mutually acceptable solution to the conflict.
The UN Security Council is hopeful that a second roundtable might help to ease tension and lead at least to the establishment of negotiations between the parties.
After a meeting on the Western Sahara conflict on January 29, the Security Council issued a statement to encourage the parties involved in the conflict to meet again in a second roundtable at the request of Kohler.
The statement of the Security Council also emphasized the importance of the involvement of all parties in the talks to resolve the conflict.
Kohler is expected to meet with officials from all the countries involved to discuss the date and place for the second roundtable.
Prior to the December roundtable, however, Morocco again reiterated its principles on the conflict, emphasizing that the autonomy plan is all that it can offer as a solution to the conflict.
The Moroccan initiative introduced to the UN in 2007 is the “top” and the “bottom”of what Morocco can offer, said Morocco’s Permanent Ambassador to the UN Omar Hilale.