Borrell responded to a request for confirmation that the EU has ceased any support for the Polisario Front, which challenges Morocco’s sovereignty and compromises regional stability.
Rabat – Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign and Security Policy, reiterated on Thursday the EU’s position regarding the Western Sahara conflict amid hostile maneuvers led by the separatist Polisario Front and its supporters.
Borrell, who is also the Vice-President of the European Commission, announced that the EU’s support for Sahrawis in the Tindouf camps concerns “purely humanitarian and development purposes.”
The EU’s position on Western Sahara is “in line with UN Security Council resolutions and supports the search for a realistic, achievable and lasting political solution, which is based on compromise,” the top EU official said in a written note published on September 23.
The response comes to answer questions from MEP Thierry Mariani, who voiced concerns over Polisario’s abuses in the Tindouf camps.
“The European Union remains silent on the actions of the Polisario organization, which is notoriously supported and instrumentalized by Algeria,” the MEP said.
Mariani asked Borrell to confirm that the EU has fully ceased any direct or indirect financial support for the Polisario Front, which challenges Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara and “contributes to the region’s destabilization.”
The EU’s position supports the UN’s mission to find an agreed upon and lasting solution to end the conflict, Borrell reiterated.
Borrell said the EU stands for a peaceful process for the Western Sahara conflict led by the UN, reiterating support for the UN-led talks convening the parties to the conflict at roundtable discussions.
Moroccan, Algerian, Mauritanian, and Polisario representatives sat on multiple occasions for dialogue at the initiative of former UN Envoy Horst Kohler.
The UN, EU, and others in the international community lauded the initiative. Talks regarding the conflict, however, stagnated with the resignation of Kohler in May 2019.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guetteres is still looking for the right candidate for the position amid calls to revive talks over the conflict.
The health crisis due to COVID-19 also resulted in further stagnation as the world is now prioritizing the search for a vaccine to end the spread of the pandemic.
Advancing Morocco-EU cooperation on Western Sahara
Mariani also asked Borrell if he intends to “strengthen EU cooperation with Morocco by acknowledging the positive role it plays in the Maghreb and throughout the Sahelian belt.”
“Morocco is Europe’s most stable ally in the Maghreb… the quality of our relationship with the Cherifian Kingdom must be preserved,” he stressed.
Borrell reaffirmed the EU’s determination to continue to strengthen cooperation with Morocco.
“In the joint EU-Morocco Political declaration adopted on 27 June 2019, both partners declared their wish to strengthen bilateral cooperation during the coming years.”
He added that both Morocco and the EU are aware of the importance of responding to challenges facing the African continent.
“They undertake to promote initiatives to foster peace on the continent, particularly with regard to peacekeeping, mediation and crisis management, seeking to encourage the development of a comprehensive approach combining the security dimension and human development.”
By the end of October the UN Security Council will convene its members to renew the mandate of the peacekeeping mission in Western Sahara, MINURSO.
The MINURSO mandate is set to expire by the end of the month after its renewal on October 30, 2019.
The UN Security Council renewed the mandate for one year instead of six months.