Staffan de Mistura, UN Special Envoy for the Sahara conflict, held talks with the Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nasser Bourita, during his first trip to the region. Also present at the meeting in the Royal Palace in Rabat was Omar Hilale, Moroccan Ambassador to the UN. During the meeting, Bourita advocated "the resumption of the political process" under the leadership of the UN in order to achieve a political solution. He also defended the proposal for Moroccan autonomy for the Sahara.
In this way, the head of Moroccan diplomacy reaffirms Rabat's position on the Sahara question. King Mohammed VI, in recent speeches on the occasion of the anniversary of the Green March, advocated a "peaceful solution", although he assured that "the Moroccan Sahara will never be on the agenda of any negotiation", according to the international media TV5 Monde.
The Alawi Kingdom, like the UN, supports the round-table process in the presence of the four actors involved in the conflict: Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania and the Polisario Front. The UN, for its part, has called on the parties to continue their participation in the negotiations in "a spirit of realism and compromise, in order to arrive at a realistic, pragmatic, lasting and compromise-based political solution". However, Algiers and the Polisario have opposed the resumption of talks in this way after those organised in Switzerland by former UN envoy Horst Köhler. Even so, Rabat continues to insist on Algeria's participation in the negotiations. "Without Algeria there will be no dialogue", warned Hilale in August.
With the aim of finding common ground for the resumption of talks, De Mistura will meet with the other parties to the conflict during his trip to the region. "The personal envoy hopes to hear the views of all stakeholders on how to move towards a constructive resumption of the political process on Western Sahara," said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric. The Italian-Swedish diplomat, after his stay in Morocco, will meet with members of the Polisario Front in Tindouf, where he will also visit refugee camps. In Algiers, he will hold talks with representatives of the Algerian government. Finally, he will travel to Mauritania, where he will hold talks with the government.
According to Challenge, De Mistura will meet with foreign diplomatic delegations in the region. The Moroccan newspaper lists the ambassadors of France, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The special envoy has decided to travel to the region at a particularly delicate moment between Morocco and Algeria, which broke off diplomatic relations last August. There has always been a strong dispute between the two countries, as Algiers is the Polisario's main ally. However, it was Algeria that decided to sever ties with its neighbour. In this context, Dujarric acknowledged that this issue is "a situation that needs to be resolved". "This is within de Mistura's mandate," she said. The spokesperson also called for a rapprochement between the two nations. "Things are always less complicated when bilateral ties between countries are more positive than negative," she added.
De Mistura was appointed special envoy for the Sahara in November, after Köhler resigned in 2019 for health reasons. The former German president succeeded in bringing the parties involved together in Geneva, but failed to bring the actors in the conflict closer together in order to reach a political solution.