Western Sahara: UN envoy optimistic despite unflinching positions of Morocco and Sahraouis

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The United Nations envoy for Western Sahara, Christopher Ross has completed his visit to the Arab Maghreb on a note of optimism after several meetings with officials from Algeria, Mauritania, the Polisario and Morocco.

At the end of his second tour in The Arab Maghreb, the personal envoy of UN Secretary-General for the Sahara, Christopher Ross, said, Monday in Rabat, that the way is now open to the first informal meeting in perspective of formal negotiations.

Christopher Ross who was speaking at a press briefing after a meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Taieb Fassi Fihri, did not hide his optimism about the success of the talks to find the right formula to solve the Western Sahara conflict.

“I am optimistic about this first informal meeting, which I am sure will make an important contribution to finding a solution to the conflict that has already lasted too long and interferes with the work to be done at the regional integration,” said Ross.

Ross who relies on regional integration in his search for a solution urged both sides to show good will and availability.

The application of the last Security Council resolution, taking into account the outcome of the negotiations so far, and the preparation of informal meetings with the Security Council — who endorsed the holding in preparation for a fifth round of negotiations — remain the main tenets of the mission of the Special Envoy of the United Nations for Western Sahara.

The Moroccan government, which considers that Morocco has fully adhered to the demands of an informal meeting, in line with a UN resolution calling on the parties to enter into serious negotiations has stuck with its earlier decision to opt for the principle of an autonomous Western Sahara.

On the other hand, the Sahraouis are still determined to defend their right to self-determination and independence without jeopardizing the protection of the United Nations in the search for solution.

The Sahraouis highlight the need to create an atmosphere conducive to negotiations. According to them, the first requirement is the respect for human rights, because “it can not continue negotiations” in the face of “the violation of human rights in the cities of Western Sahara occupied by Morocco.”

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