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Western Sahara: Mauritanian FM Calls for Mutually Acceptable Political Solution

Mauritania, which Morocco has long seen as a main party to the conflict, recently angered Polisario for not mentioning its position on the dispute during a previous UN event.

Rabat – Mauritanian foreign minister, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, has emphasized that “time has come” to find a political solution to end the dispute over Western Sahara once and for all while speaking about his country’s position on the conflict.

The Mauritanian official talked about the conflict on Thursday, November 7, in Nouakchott.

For Ould Cheikh Ahmed, the Western Sahara conflict is the reason why the Maghreb Arab Union project is “frozen.”

The Mauritanian minister added that Mauritania is active in the UN-led political process, emphasizing the principle of neutrality.

Despite the importance of the conflict for Mauritania, the country, he said, does not take sides.

Ould Cheikh Ahmed said that Mauritania is not a “spectator, and we need to see this conflict solved as soon as possible. The time has come to find a mutually acceptable political solution for the conflict that has caused enormous suffering for the people and resulted in a frozen Arab Maghreb Union.”

Read Also: King Mohammed VI: Autonomy Plan is Only Solution for the Western Sahara Conflict

The statement comes a day after King Mohammed VI addressed problems hindering Maghreb unity during his speech on Wednesday, November 6, for the 44th Anniversary of the Green March.

During his speech, the King reiterated Morocco’s firm position on the conflict and expressed Morocco’s commitment to establishing “sound, solid relations with sister Maghreb countries.”

“Hopes, just like expectations, are running high, and the challenges are many and complex. Regrettably, some are not taking the situation seriously,” the King said, referring to Algeria. Algeria claims to be only an observing party in the Western Sahara conflict.

For Morocco, Algeria is a main party to the conflict, and the Polisario Front has no legitimacy to represent Sahrawis.

Morocco has long called on Algeria to take responsibility and engage in the UN-led political process as a main party and not just an observer.

Morocco has made clear on many occasions that its Autonomy Plan, a proposal submitted to the UN in 2007, is the only political solution to end the conflict as it guarantees “full respect for the Kingdom’s national unity and territorial integrity.”

Mauritania, which Morocco also considers one of the main parties to the conflict, participated in the UN roundtables initiated by then UN Personal Envoy Horst Kohler in December 2018 and March 2019.

Recently, the Polisario Front expressed frustration after Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Cheikh El Ghazouani did not mention the Western Sahara conflict during his speech at the general debate of the UN 74th Session of the General Assembly on September 24.

Pro-Polisario news outlet Futuro Sahara criticized the Mauritanian president, stating that the official cynically made no reference to Western Sahara and that the commission was politically motivated.  

The news outlet added the Western Sahara conflict is only a “card” to play for presidential candidates in Mauritania and other states, such as Spain.