The Fórum Canario Saharaui, following the recent visit of Staffan de Mistura, special envoy of the United Nations (UN) for Western Sahara, to the Tindouf camps, has issued an official statement in which it openly criticises the "double standards" of Algeria with regard to the conflict over the Saharawi territory and the resolutions of the United Nations and in which it also rejects the "double discourse" of the Polisario Front, an ally of the Algerian country, in which it shows itself ready to collaborate with the UN itself, but at the same time criticises it for "lack of forcefulness".
The press release of the Fórum Canario Saharaui is reproduced below:
Following the recent visit of Staffan de Mistura to Algeria and the Tindouf camps, and its results, this Fórum Canario Saharaui declares the following:
Once again we see the double standards of Algeria, which on this issue insists on having two different positions at the same time, determined to "play with two cards".
On the one hand, by calling for "the resumption of direct negotiations between Morocco and the Polisario Front to resolve the conflict in Western Sahara". In doing so, it denies what has become a common trend in recent Security Council resolutions.
As we know, the latest UN Security Council resolution 2602 confirms the continuity of the round-table process as the only framework for the solution of the regional dispute over the Sahara. In the text, the Council renewed its call on all parties to continue their engagement "in the same format of round tables, with realism and a spirit of compromise, to ensure a satisfactory outcome, in order to reach a political, realistic, practical and lasting solution".
Moreover, this resolution follows the four previous Security Council resolutions, which consolidate and confirm the continuity of the round-table process with all its participants, including Algeria and Mauritania, without prejudice to the possibility of including some more actors representing Saharawi civil society at a later date. The Polisario currently represents only a small part of the population.
This is the framework within which a solution must be found, and Algeria cannot seek to meddle in this issue time and again, not only by harbouring a totalitarian one-party organisation such as the Polisario, but also by creating diplomatic conflicts, as in the case of Spain over the Sahara, as well as its permanent invasive presence on this issue on a daily basis, only to shirk its obligations within the framework of these round tables, deny the need for their existence and wash its hands of the issue on the premise that it is "none of our business".
We also reject the Polisario's double discourse during this visit of the special envoy. On the one hand they affirm through Sidi Omar that "we are ready to cooperate with the UN and its personal envoy to reach a solution", but on the other hand, the Polisario itself, through Luali Akeik, was quick to criticise the "lack of forcefulness of the UN" as soon as De Mistura left at the end of the visit to Tindouf. A strange use of "carrot and stick tactics". So where does that leave us?
Once again, the only thing the Polisario knows how to do is to put sticks in the wheels and stones in the shoe when it comes to resolving the problem. By now we know that any solution to this dispute that is not to their own benefit, and not to the benefit of the population they claim to represent, will not be welcomed by them.
It is also clear once again that by rejecting the round-table format, Algeria and the Polisario are greatly complicating and obstructing the task of the new UN special envoy, trying to impose new conditions by changing the format of the negotiations proposed by the UN itself, wanting to limit them only to meetings between Morocco and the Polisario. Especially at a time when Algeria is interfering more than ever in this issue.
This is why we hope that the new special envoy, De Mistura, will exercise good judgement and that his first trips to the region in recent months will help him to identify those actors who systematically obstruct the proposals and decisions that come from the United Nations, even those that come from the resolutions themselves, such as the aforementioned 2602, as we have just detailed.
Finally, we wish to denounce, once again, the insistent and furious political and media campaign against Spain's new position on the Sahara, and against those of us who have been supporting it for years, in our case since 2007. The latest to attack were recently Compromís and Más Madrid, demanding the resumption of relations with the Algerian military regime over the energy issue, wielding the classic allusions to international resolutions.
We believe that the Sahara needs solutions, not resolutions. It is soporific and exasperating to come up against the invisible wall of listening to and refuting, over and over again, the whole string of outdated resolutions and rulings from the depths of the 20th century, which are difficult to fit in and implement in today's world.
We are convinced that, today and beyond the fact that the ways in which the change was brought about could be improved, Spain's position is clear and responsible. Moreover, it is supported by the main opposition party, the People's Party, which last July voted against a motion for a resolution in Parliament that sought to push the Spanish government to backtrack on its position in favour of the autonomy plan. At this point, we hope that the rest of the countries that have doubts, as well as the EU itself, will follow in the footsteps of Spain, Germany, Holland and Portugal, as the best solution to a conflict that has been going on for decades.
We understand that this is the only possible solution today. The autonomy proposal is the starting point for a definitive and realistic solution to almost half a century of conflict, above dogmatism, militancy or romanticism comfortably exercised from the living room of their homes by those who support Polisario, here in Spain or anywhere in the world.