The French politician argues that separatism in Western Sahara is a recipe for further destabilization in an already fragile region.
Agadir – France’s former Secretary of State for Cooperation and Francophonie, Alain Joyandet, has said “the future of the Sahara is Moroccan.”
In an article for Monde Afrique, the French politician wrote that supporting separatism in Western Sahara only seeks to create further destabilization and socio-political crises in an already fragile region.
“Sometimes history offers opportunities that should not be missed,” he began, referring to recent developments in Western Sahara. According to Joyandet, the time has come to once and for all settle the Sahara conflict by embracing Morocco’s Autonomy Plan.
Assessing the geopolitical conflict, the politician laid bare the maneuvers and calculations of Morocco’s neighbors. Despite repeated diplomatic setbacks and an interminable series of domestic issues, Algeria is still funding Polisario; Spain has nothing left to claim in the conflict; and Mauritania has “wisely” withdrawn to its borders.
With the key players in the conflict being Morocco, Algeria, Polisario, Joyandet maintains that Morocco is “undoubtedly the only one able to ensure [peace in] the Sahara.”
Morocco, he argued, has shown that it has the potential — and the political will — to provide real prospects for economic development and social prosperity in its southern provinces.
For Joyandet, the Polisario Front’s proclamation in 1976 does not hold “a solid foundation.” Instead, the group’s founding myths and actions highlight the historic futility of misguided attempts at self-determination referendums.
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The French politicia’s arguments echo some of the points that many observers have raised in recent weeks to deconstruct the pro-Polisario camp’s myths and contradictions.While a self-determination referendum might have been the basis for conflict resolution in the early years of the Sahara dispute, the last 20 years marked a change in how the UN has approached the issue, as Samir Bennis has pointed out.
Taking heed of the historically slow progress towards resolution, Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara is a welcome opportunity to move forward, Joyanded stressed. He argued that development “did not trigger any audible international disputes,” as neither the African Union nor the European Union made any major objections.
“All of this shows that the time may be right to follow in the United States’ footsteps,” continued the politician. He believes that, even if not “essential,” the Abrahamic Accords are a “positive contribution” towards resolving a number of issues in the MENA region.
“France should not remain indifferent to this development in North Africa… The European Union cannot remain indifferent,” insisted Joyandet. Within the context of European security, the politician closed his article by posing the question, “Is it not in the Sahel strip that most of the terrorist dangers are concentrated today?”