A week before the second UN-sponsored Geneva meeting on Western Sahara, Morocco’s Western Sahara position continues to collect supportive voices.
Rabat – Western Sahara is historically a Moroccan territory, and the Polisario Front is a mouthpiece of regimes and movements hostile to Moroccan interests, according to Spanish politician Jorge Verstrynge Rojas.
Rojas, a known figure in Europe’s conservative circles who served as secretary general of the Spanish People’s Alliance, made his comments in Dakhla on Friday while taking part in the 2019 Crans Montana Forum, Moroccan outlet MAP reported.
A connoisseur of North African politics and history, Rojas suggested that Algeria and leftist movements in Europe “fabricated” the conflict in Western Sahara to undermine Morocco’s “historical legitimacy on its southern territories.”
“Western Sahara is and has always been part of Morocco,” he said. “The ‘Sahrawi people’ does not exist. It is the creation of Algeria and a large part of the Spanish left which are still not ready to come to terms with the fact that the territories are Morocco’s.”
Rojas joined Spain’s leftwing Podemos party in 2014 as a political advisor.
Like a number of leftist parties, Podemos maintains that Morocco is “occupying” Western Sahara and “colonizing its people.”
Rojas suggested that he values historical facts more than ideological consistency and revolutionary fervor. He said, “Although I feel very close to Podemos, I am obliged to say things as they are.”
The Spanish politician said Algeria, Polisario’s strongest supporter, would be better served by attending to its own issues. “Algeria should address its own problems instead of interfering in Morocco’s issues with its Sahara.”
Rojas’s remarks come as Morocco, Algeria, the Polisario Front, and Mauritania prepare to meet in the second Geneva round table the UN is hosting on Western Sahara March 21-22. The meeting is part of the UN-sponsored process to find a lasting and mutually acceptable settlement to the conflict.
Polisario and its supporters are calling for a referendum on self-determination, while Morocco maintains that it will agree to no settlement outside its 2007 Autonomy Plan.
Morocco’s plan, which calls for local autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty, has been described as “serious and realistic” by many governments, including France and the US.