UNSC NO 2602: Shed lights on a final settlement to Moroccan Sahara

Since the cessation of diplomatic relations between Morocco and Algeria, it has lasted for more than months. The Algerian regime, along with the Polisario Front, confirmed not to take part in the negotiation talks on the case of the Moroccan Sahara after the release of UN Security Council Resolution No. 2602, which is an expression of the Algerian diplomacy of its willingness to disrupt the peace process of political resolution regarded to the long-term of Sahara file.

Though, Omar Hilale, The Moroccan Ambassador at the United Nations, pointed out the Algerian government purposely withdrawal from the UN negotiations by stating that “All, including the Kingdom of Morocco and the UN Security Council, acknowledges that Algeria is a responsible party to the conflict,” indicating that “its absence means that there will be no political process at all.”

In addition, The UN Security Council strongly urged that the conflict parties must return to the negotiating table to reactivate the political process after a three-year stalemate, and this concerns Algeria, Morocco, “the Polisario” and Mauritania, and therefore the withdrawal of one of the conflictual parties from the negotiations operation will put it into a confrontation with the international community particularly  UNSC.

In this regard, Algeria’s pullout from the UN negotiations is due to several previous political steps; Among them are the negative reactions associated with securing the Guerguerat border crossing by the Royal Armed Forces. Yet, “the Sahara file has witnessed a special dynamic since many Arab, African and international countries opened diplomatic consulates in the southern provinces of the Kingdom, which embarrassed Algeria, which has become isolated on the African and international stages.”

Simultaneously with the UN Security Council resolution on prolonging the mandate of the MINURSO mission one more year, the Polisario Front strongly declared a revolt against the United Nations by rejecting to respond to the repeated calls to pull out from the Guerguerat crossing, which puts it in a collision with the UN organization.

Though,  UNSC Resolutions 2440, 2468, 2494, 2548, and 2602 devoted the round table series and definitively mentioned the four participants, the Kingdom of  Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania, and the Polisario Front. Resolutions 2440, 2468, 2494, 2548, and 2602 referred to Algeria, as well as Morocco, five times, reaffirming Algeria’s role as a major player in this regional conflict. These Security Council resolutions also welcomed Kingdoms’ actions and initiatives to promote and protect human rights in its southern regions, the role of the Committees of the National Council for Human Rights in Laayoune and Dakhla, as well as Morocco’s interaction with the mechanisms of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

From this perspective, the resolution expresses the General Assembly’s support for Security Council resolutions issued since 2007, which embodied Morocco’s autonomy initiative, which was welcomed by the executive and the worldwide community as a whole as a serious and credible initiative for the final settlement of this regional conflict within the framework of the Kingdom’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Intentionally, Morocco considers that Algeria has tried to drive a wedge between Morocco and Polisario Front as it did during the previous years. Yet, Algeria always pushing through fueling the situation in the Guerguerat borders zone, because the Algerian regime today needs an outlet to turn attention from what is happening inside the country, especially to pass the referendum phase on the constitution and disregard the ongoing arrests and the widespread condemnation campaign regarding the deteriorating human rights condition and rule of law.

Morocco argues that when key conflictual parties to the Moroccan (Western) Sahara issue are not present, such a meeting will not contribute to properly resolving the conflict, as it shall be advanced and adopted mainly through the context of the Parties Talks and the UN Security Council. That is why, at first, the legality and representativeness of this meeting are briefly questioned by the worldwide community. Practically, Rabat and Washington have worked devotedly to tackle the legitimate security concerns of all parties in a just and clear way through dialogue, including the dualistic doctrine and suspension-for-suspension proposal. Although it is not accepted by the Algerian government, the Kingdom of Morocco always welcomes the positive move such as the Neighboring support for the peace process to the conflict gradually resuming dialogues and contacts in light of condition on the Moroccan Sahara dispute remaining intricate and sensitive. It also argues that all parties should cherish the hard-won momentum of easing tension on the Moroccan Sahara and of enhancing Morocco’s Algeria dialogues. Otherwise, coercive diplomacy and alienation alone are counterproductive.

True, both the Kingdom of Morocco and the United States claimed, it is too late to call Algeria to the negotiation table as a key actor since mutual trust is inadequate among the Polisario concerned. However, both US and France insist that diplomacy is a process of unbroken negotiations, steady coaxing, and shared conciliations if necessary. As two superpowers influencing in terms of negotiation capabilities and the veto power in the UN, Algeria and Polisario front simply denied to present them at the negotiation session with no full consultation and cooperation. It is out of the question to effectively settle down the regional disputes if any state calculates to only further alienate and infuriate.  Given this, Morocco and The United State have warned Algeria and other parties to come back to the “ negotiations table”.

lately, Moroccan Foreign Minister Nassar Bourita expressed his concerns regarding Algeria’s intimidation against the Kingdom through the News media, that is, Morocco called Algeria repeatedly to sit in a  peace dialogue before asking the UNSC to do so. Due to this, it is time to test the sincerity of all conflictual parties, particularly in Algeria. The international community should keep aware to see who is a promoter of the peaceful settlement of the Moroccan Sahara issue and who will become a ruiner that causes a return to tensions of the situation.

To sum up, As Algeria and Polisario Front have mentioned, a UN institutional context or a continuation of the negotiations talks is more conducive to coming up with final results that will satisfy all parties involved.

Jamal Laadam
Jamal Laadam
Dr. Jamal Ait Laadam, Specialist in North African and Western Sahara Issue, at Jilin University School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA).