The UN Personal Envoy’s invitations to the relevant parties to resume negotiations over the Western Sahara conflict, came at the right time, professor of international relations Tajeddine El Houssaini said.
Moroccan analysts and political observers differ in their opinions about the invitations that the United Nations Personal Envoy, Horst Kohler, sent to Morocco and the Polisario on January 23. For El Houssaini, Kohler’s invitations come at the right time for many reasons. In an interview with Al Ghad Tv, the Moroccan analyst said that the UN Secretary-General typically prepares a report on the Western Sahara situation in March, which is later submitted to UN Security Council in April.
El Houssaini said that the UNSG Personal Envoy “was supposed to submit a paper to the Security Council on the situation after his appointment.”
Since October 2017, Kohler visited Morocco several times. Recently, he met with King Mohammed VI with Algerian officials and representatives of the Polisario Front at the camps of Tindouf.”
Speaking about Kohler’s strategy, El Houssaini recalled Kohler’s ten-day tour to Europe and Africa. In an effort to end the four-decade-long conflict over Western Sahara conflict, Kohler held talks with EU officials in Brussels and AU leaders in Addis Ababa to discuss the issue.
The Moroccan political expert emphasized that this as an opportunity for EU and AU leaders to propose solutions to help the UN to find a lasting and mutually acceptable solution the conflict.
Regarding the launch of negotiations, the analyst said that “this new approach is in line with the recent Security Council resolution, which called on the parties to resume negotiations on the basis of a dialogue” between all the parties involved, including Mauritania and Algeria.
While El Houssaini seems positive about Kohler’s invitations to resume negotiations, Moroccan political analyst Reda El Fellah sees Morocco’s potential participation as a “political error.”
For El Fellah, Morocco should not get involved in these negotiations, especially after “the provocative actions and military maneuvers carried out by the Polisario Front with the recent support of Algeria near Guerguerat.” El Fallah believes that these illegal armed operations by the separatist front near the buffer zone reflect the unwillingness of Polisario to reach a just and mutually acceptable solution, adding that the launch of negotiations is irrelevant.
He added that Morocco’s involvement would give the impression that Morocco knuckles under the separatist group’s recent provocations at the level of the international community.
The political analyst added that if Morocco sits at the same table with the separatist front, which has been claiming independent statehood, it would be a “diplomatic and political error, because it will give the separatist group the legitimacy they cannot afford and will enrich their hope to get regional and international support.”
El Fellah, who is also a university professor in Agadir, told Morocco World News that “the process of negotiations could not be successful without a powerful meditation, adding,“The UN mediation alone is not enough, knowing the lack of real pressure on the Polisario and Algeria to look for compromise and [a] win-win agreement.”