SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 28 January 2022, Friday |

Moroccan FM Holds Talks with de Mistura in Rabat

Former UN envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura met Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita in Rabat, the Foreign Ministry said Thursday.

 

The regional visit of de Mistura is part of the implementation of Security Council resolution 2602, adopted on October 29, 2021, in which the UN Executive Body reiterates its call to the parties to continue their commitment to the roundtable process to achieve a realistic political solution based on compromise, the official MAP agency reported.

 

It also said that Moroccan officials reiterated the kingdom’s “commitment to the resumption of the political process conducted under the exclusive auspices of the UN to achieve a political solution” based on a Moroccan plan for autonomy.

 

Rabat sees the Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony with access to lucrative phosphate resources and rich Atlantic fisheries, as its sovereign territory.

 

But the Polisario Front, which took up arms in the 1970s to seek independence there, demands an independence referendum on the basis of a 1991 deal that included a ceasefire.

 

The truce collapsed in 2020, after the Trump administration recognized Rabat’s sovereignty over the Western Sahara.

 

Morocco has offered limited autonomy but rejected calls for independence.

 

King Mohamed VI reiterated that position in a November speech, calling for a “peaceful solution” to the conflict but vowed that “Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara will never be up for negotiation”.

 

According to AFP, the last talks, under de Mistura’s predecessor Horst Kohler, were in Switzerland in 2019, in a roundtable format including Morocco, the Polisario, Algeria and Mauritania.

 

But Algiers has since refused to take part in further roundtable discussions.

 

A UN Security Council resolution late last year called for “the parties” in the Western Sahara dispute to resume negotiations “without preconditions”.